Former CSIS employee killed by husband never feared him, family says
Pair found dead in garage at Orléans home
Kristen Odland
Canwest News Service

CALGARY - During the course of their 10-year relationship, Alicia Bateman's family never feared Ryan Sawchuk would hurt her.

But last Saturday, the employee of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) was killed by her ex-fiancé after she called off their wedding and ended their relationship earlier that week.

The murder-suicide occurred hours after Mr. Sawchuk had boarded a plane from Calgary to Ottawa to reconcile.

Speaking publicly for the first time since Ms. Bateman's death, Ernest Shanahan, her mother's common-law-partner who lives in Slave Lake, Alta., said there was no evidence of violence or animosity in the couple's relationship.

"She was a pretty strong woman," said Mr. Shanahan. "She was always confident -- even to the end -- that Ryan was not a violent person.

"That's the way we felt, too. That's why this is so shocking."

Ms. Bateman's mother and grandparents are in Ottawa to bring her body back to Calgary, where the funeral will be held.

The couple had moved from Calgary to Ottawa and into a house Ms. Bateman bought with her mother after she'd joined CSIS as an investigator in 2004.

Around seven months ago, Mr. Sawchuk moved back to Calgary to find work because he couldn't speak French.

He proposed around Christmas and they continued the relationship long distance.

In the last four months, her family and friends knew the couple was growing apart, and Ms. Bateman tried to break off the relationship several times.

"Their lives seemed to be growing in different directions," said Mr. Shanahan.

"She felt it was time to bring some closure to it. . . . (Friends) knew that, too."

Ms. Bateman told friends, family, and co-workers she was planning to stay in Ottawa to continue working for CSIS.

She was found in a Jeep in front of the house the couple once shared on Côté Royale in Orléans, while Mr. Sawchuk was found hanging in the garage.

An autopsy revealed Monday that Mr. Sawchuk strangled Ms. Bateman before hanging himself.

Ottawa police said this week it was just a matter of paperwork before the case was closed.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2008


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