Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Sonia Varaschin - Orangeville nurse saves lives only to have her own tragically stolen.

WHO: Sonia Varaschin (42/f), a former nurse at Toronto's Sick Children's hospital. She switched careers approximately two months before her disappearance to work at Southlake Regional Health Centre. Single and childless, Sonia was petite at 5'1" 125 lbs with light brown streaks through her brown hair.
WHAT: Sonia was murdered in her two-storey Orangeville townhouse, then carried out the front door wrapped in bedding sheets. Her body was bundled into her Toyota Corolla which her killer drove, either to another vehicle or directly to dump her body outdoors. Though police have not released the cause of her death, there were large quantities of blood – ruling out strangulation, and pointing to either bludgeoning, stabbing/slashing or a firearms related murder.
WHERE: The murder took place in Sonia's home on Spring Street in Orangeville. Her Toyota Corolla was found parked 5 minutes walk away in an alley near Broadway, with its front doors and trunk open. Her body was discovered in an isolated wooded area 12 km to the west in Caledon near Beech Grove Sideroad and Mountainview Road.
WHEN: Sonia was murdered sometime late at night on Sunday August 29, 2010, having last been seen by family that evening. At 10 AM on Monday August 30, her Toyota Corolla was discovered nearby. It would take until September 5 until her remains were located.
HOW: Police will not comment on whether or not there were signs of sexual assault or the method with which she was killed. What does seem apparent is that her body was carried to her own vehicle, possibly kept in her garage, and transported either directly to Caledon or to another vehicle parked in the vicinity of where the Corolla was found the next morning. In a particularly cryptic statement, investigators commented that “there was no sign of break and enter” but “that doesn't mean the door was locked”.
WHY: Without any confirmation as to the weapon of murder, or what kind, if any, sexual activity occurred, it is impossible to assess the motive of the UNSUB. For instance, a man who rapes a woman at gunpoint is vastly different than one who bashes her head in with a lamp because she has rejected his sexual advances. There is also the type of offender who wastes no time shooting his victim through the skull so that he may have sex with her body.
Given this lack of information, can we form a profile? Yes, but not a good one, and if not for the interest in the case, I would be hesitant in doing so.
The Murderer of Sonia Varaschin
Sex/Gender: The UNSUB is a male, and identifies as such. We know this because he was able to easily carry the dead weight of Sonia's body to the car. Footwear impressions of a man's size 10 or 11 work boot of the Wind River or Dakota brand sold exclusively Mark's Work Wearhouse were also found at one of the crime scenes.
Age: 20-47. This range is, of course, so broad it is practically useless, but owing to the scant details regarding the method of murder and sexual assault, it would be unwise to narrow the parameters any further.
Race/ethnicity: In this case, I would not eliminate anyone on grounds of race or ethnicity.
Occupation/skills/intelligence/socialization: The UNSUB's choice of work boots, combined with his willingness to get messy and his knowledge of rural areas seems to indicate somebody local who works in a blue collar or manual labour position. Though by no means a social disaster, I believe this suspect will struggle immensely with feelings of rejection from women. He might compensate for this by openly bragging of imaginary sexual exploits, and may speak in denigrating terms towards women. His IQ will be low to average; due to some bizarre behaviour exhibited at the murder scene I would cap it at about 105. If the suspect is mentally ill however, his IQ may be much higher, his erratic actions being the result of psychosis or entering a fugue state. It is probable that the killer was either acquainted with Sonia, or had spotted and become fixated on her, stalking her for months leading up to the murders. There is also the possibility of a middle ground, where she was stalked by somebody she knew. Keeping in mind that without a Cause of Death it is difficult to ascertain premeditation, I am going to go out on a limb and assume this was a hot blooded murder; ie. the UNSUB did not plan to kill Sonia, instead he fantasized of having an intimate relationship with her. When she unexpectedly rejected him, he was overcome with rage and attacked her, probably exceeding the necessary degree of force to kill her (overkill). This is contingent on the assumption that a firearm was not used in the attack. IF SONIA WAS SHOT THEN THIS WHOLE PROFILE SHOULD BE DISREGARDED.
Appearance: The UNSUB will be physically strong, though by no means a bodybuilder, and dress in casual blue collar attire. His height will be between 5'8” to 6' as evidenced by his boot size.
Residence: Orangeville or Caledon and surrounding area. The UNSUB displayed competent mental mapping of both the area where Sonia lived and where her body was eventually found. As my instincts tell me he stalked her to some degree, he would also have to live nearby to facilitate this.
Relationships/family: The UNSUB is defined by his insecurity around women. There are two avenues this could possibly stem from: 1) He was raised by an emotionally distant mother figure who made him feel inadequate and/or exerted excessive control over him, 2) The UNSUB was a social outcast growing up, always watching from the sidelines and increasingly reinforcing his own “weirdness”, believing that he could never fit in enough to “get a girl”. As a coping mechanism, this insecurity may have mutated into narcissism, with the UNSUB telling himself that he was better than everybody else, and that they simply were too “dumb” or “conformist” to understand him. This justified his continued ostracism and allowed him to survive psychologically into adulthood. Since maturing, he may have had a number of relationships with women, but these will have largely been short term as his low self esteem would have turned most women away. Any long term relationships he had would have been governed by physical and emotional abuse directed towards a partner with similarly low self esteem – the only type of woman who would stay with him for any extended period of time. Another option for a long term relationship is that he may have entered one with a dominant female partner who replaced the role his mother played in his life, structuring his existence for him and taking care of financial matters. Meanwhile, he would seek ways to rebel against her authority and dominance over him by acting out his aggressions on other women.
Criminal/psychiatric history: While we are looking at a two or three crime scene murder here, which usually indicates a greater level of organization, in this case there is something fundamentally irrational about the UNSUB's actions. The most prominent illogical act is the carrying of Sonia's bloodied body from her apartment to her vehicle, and subsequently transporting it to the Caledon area. This was an extremely risky move as the UNSUB stood a high chance of being caught in the process. Until this point nobody had any reason to suspect that a murder had occurred, and considering the amount of blood at the crime scene left no doubt that violence had taken place, it was actually safer for the UNSUB to leave the body inside Sonia's apartment. Even if his intent was to sexually assault the corpse after death (a possibility), doing so indoors would have been far more sensible. The implications are that the offender was exhibiting signs of psychological disorganization, possibly mental illness. Another or parallel explanation may have been that the offender was under the influence of a significant amount of alcohol during the commission of this crime. It was this “Dutch courage” which allowed him to appoach her in the first place. The UNSUB may also use marijuana and cocaine, though these do not have as profound an effect on his self control as alcohol. Prior criminal activities might involve: stalking, break and enter, harrassment, sexual assault, statutory rape, rape and assault. Don't be surprised if he has had numerous restraining orders filed against him.
Of Related Interest: I believe we are looking at somebody of similar psychological make up to Jonathan Yeo. See the book Fatal Mistakes by Kevin Marron.


  1. You certainly have been working hard. Job well done.!
    When you talk about the sub being a social outcast ect., reinforcing his own "weirdness", never fit in enough to "get a girl". I think there is another health issue here, other than mental illness. Maybe ticks, siezures, turrets, something underlying.???

  2. Hey Art - Thanks for commenting as always. Why do you think the perp might be suffering from seizures or Tourettes? I'd be interested to know your take on it.

  3. I'm not really sure Lee, just came to me, thinking about ways someone would feel as a social outcast. Trying to think out of the box.
    I think the perp/s is someone Sonia knew while she was working. She took care of him/them.

  4. I think you may be onto something Art. From my experiences over the years, the type of person Redbeard characterizes have often become terribly infatuated with a pretty and kind nurse/nurse student. Seen it alot actually and some of the clients were really very pathetic characters with low self esteem and low everything. They become infatuated and then hurt when the nurse tells them thank you but this is not appropriate behaviour ... I am your caregiver ... that's it. They feel rejected and dejected and plain angry sometimes. This character could have held onto his anger over the rejection.

  5. If he was suffering from seizures or tourettes he probably couldn't drive. If it was medically under control, so that he could drive...he probably wasn't suffering.

  6. I also don't think the mental illness was seizures or tourettes. I'd lean more towards a schizophrenic episode - a distortion of reality, probably accompanied by profound paranoia. Drugs or alcohol could play a factor as well. People suffering from extreme psychosis can still drive. The case of Herbert Mullin in Santa Cruz is one example. I'm no expert on seizures, but I know there are different kinds. I suppose it would depend on where in the brain they are occurring.