The family of a murder victim flew to Toronto to recognize the officers who brought his killers to justice.
The family of Allan Lanteigne, who died on March 2, 2011, joined in an awards ceremony on March 27, to recognize 26 members of the police and legal community with a Teamwork Award and Letters of Recommendation for their tireless work on the case.
Shortly after joining Homicide eight years ago, S/Sgt. Tam Bui was assigned as one of the lead investigators officer in the murder. A conviction was secured in June 2018, two years after the officer left the unit.
Michael Ivezic and Demitry Papasotiriou-Lanteigne – the husband of the deceased -- were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole eligibility for 25 years. The two men had been having an affair.
Papasotiriou-Lanteigne, who was in Greece at the time of the murder, was a suspect from the outset.
“He refused to come home for the funeral and he would only communicate with us if we went to his lawyer’s officer in Toronto and teleconferenced,” said Bui, who is now assigned to 14 Division Community Response Unit. “He acted in a very suspicious manner and was deceitful about a few things in the beginning.”
With travel records indicating Papasotiriou-Lanteigne was in Europe at the time of his husband’s death, Bui and his team turned their attention to other persons of interest.
Det. Leslie Dunkley, who was one of Bui’s partners at the time, found a flight itinerary in the deceased home with the name Ivezic.
“He wrote a report on that and filed it away,” said Bui. “Months later when some of my production order results came back, one of my favorite moment in my homicide career happened. While looking at an IP subscriber address, the last name Ivezic popped up. Recognizing the name I yelled across the desk to Les and asked if he knew the name. Les put his finger up, silently reached into the box and pulled out the flight itinerary, which carried that same name. We soon realized the individual had a history of committing fraud. This is something I learned from Supt. Peter Code about 15 years ago on the Major Case Management Course and which I now lecture on, ‘the name is always in the box.’ Our Power Case People would have eventually caught this match.”
This led Bui to deduce that there was an element of fraud in his murder investigation.
The deceased, who worked in accounting earning about $50,000 annually, had a $2 million life insurance policy.
“Some of the stuff seemed exaggerated and out place,” Bui recalled.
Ivezic, who was the focus of the investigation, fled to Greece before officers could determine if DNA taken at the crime scene matched his profile.
Forced to find a DNA match with him being in Greece, they turned to his son for a parental match.
“We were able to have the Centre of Forensic Sciences tell us that the biological father of the person whose DNA we collected on surveillance was the DNA at the crime scene,” said Bui. “Now, we had grounds for arrest and the hunt was on trying to figure how to get him and the husband back from Europe.”
Papasotiriou-Lanteigne is a Greek citizen and Canada did not have an extradition treaty with that country.
When he returned to Canada for a legal hearing over the insurance money in November 2012, police arrested him. Working with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Interpol led to Ivezic’s arrest in Greece. Bui and Const. Athanasios Tzikas of 14 Division, travelled to Greece to bring him back to face the murder charge in June 2013.
Throughout the lengthy investigation, Bui and his team maintained a strong working relationship with Lanteigne’s family who resides in New Brunswick.
“We did this even though we couldn’t share a lot of information with them,” he said. “They were very involved in the prosecution. They rented an apartment in the city, stayed for 10 months and were in court every day. During the course of the trial, they learned how much work we had actually done to bring these people to justice. They were dumbfounded.”
Bui said the case was lengthy and emotionally draining on the family.
Lanteigne’s mother, Rosaline, sisters Jocelyne Sterritt and Rachel Boyd, and brother-in-law Don Sterritt flew in from New Brunswick for the awards ceremony.
“We had to be here because we are so happy with what the Toronto Police officers and everyone involved in the case did for Allan,” said Jocelyne Sterritt. “We wanted to be here to share this moment with them. We can never repay them for what they did and we are extremely appreciative that they didn’t give up. Our brother was kind, loving and someone who would give anything to anyone. He didn’t deserve what happened to him.”