A Nigerian youth social worker for Wood’s Homes in the area of Marda Loop-Bankview in Calgary-Alberta in Canada was killed in the early morning of Friday, October 25th, 2019 while she was on the job caring for a man, police say.
Deborah Onwu, 47, of Calgary, was identified by police as the woman stabbed in the 1800 block of 27th Avenue S.W. around 2:45 a.m. Police say an 18-year-old at the assisted living facility is in custody and was arrested around 5 a.m. on Friday.
Onwu was a youth social worker with Calgary’s Wood’s Homes, a children’s mental health centre that provides treatment to children, youth and families.
“Everyone at Wood’s Homes is deeply impacted by this recent tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with all involved including the victim’s family and our many staff,” said Wood’s Homes spokesperson Sylvia MacIver.
“Debbie was a well-liked and well-respected colleague. She was hardworking and devoted to a career of helping. There are no words to describe the sadness our work family is feeling today.”
When police arrived on the scene, efforts were immediately provided to Onwu, but she later succumbed to her injuries. While an initial search of the residence didn’t turn up the suspect, one person was located and arrested downtown around 5 a.m.
Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta says the 18-year-old had been living at the facility for several weeks.
“She was providing assisted living care to the suspect,” Schiavetta said Friday afternoon. “This was her place of employment. The investigation is still ongoing. If appropriate, we will be in consultation with the Crown prosecutors office.”
Wood’s Homes say they’re working with the Calgary police and occupational health and safety during this investigation as well as providing counselling support for all those affected in their organization, MacIver said.
Because the death happened at a workplace, Alberta Occupational Health and Safety is also investigating.
The suspect remains in custody but cannot be named until formal charges are laid.
Information from neighbours initially suggested the home was associated with the Seven Steps recovery program, however, this is not believed to be the case.
If deemed a homicide, it would be Calgary’s 16th of 2019.
Please reach out to her family members and friends.