A forensic identification officer walks between two rooms at the Motel 6 on the Trans-Canada Highway in Brandon in this still from a video. A man has been charged after a reported stabbing death on Wednesday evening. (IAN HITCHEN/BRANDON SUN)
Victim: Terrance Craig
(PHOTO COURTESY NB TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL))
Brandon Police Service vehicles block off the entrance to the parking lot of the Motel 6 on the Trans-Canada Highway in Brandon on Wednesday evening. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
Justin Henkel and Blake Roussin didn’t get much rest Wednesday night — with the yelling outside their hotel room and then the squawk of police radios.
"We didn’t really get much sleep because there’s been an ongoing investigation outside our door so we were tossing and turning all night," Henkel said Thursday morning.
'Terry was a very kind, gentle soul'
By Tammy Scott-Wallace
SUSSEX, N.B. -- As the tragic news of Terrance Craig's death reached his hometown of Sussex, the community was in shock.
People close to Craig say he was driving east back home to New Brunswick after going to pick up his son further west when they pulled over at the highway hotel for the night.
Craig was retired as a longtime manager of Bayview Credit Union in Sussex. He was also president of the Sussex Fish and Game Association.
Danny Byers, a fellow avid outdoorsman, said Craig was passionate about the work of the fish and wildlife group that promotes responsible use of the outdoors and conservation.
"I don't know where to start," he said, his voice breaking. "He was an awesome outdoorsman. I hunted with him and fished with him -- he just loved the outdoors."
He said Craig will be missed within the local wildlife organization where he played a key role in developing the annual Atlantic Hunting and Fishing Expo at the 8th Hussars Sports Centre.
"You wouldn't know all the things he was involved in within the community. This is such a huge loss for everybody," he added. "It's so hard to believe."
Yvonne Baxter worked as a mortgage specialist under Craig at the Bayview Credit Union when he was manager. She said he was a mentor who was committed to the credit union movement and its membership.
"Terry was a very kind, gentle soul," she said. "He was such a gentleman to everybody and he was so well respected. I learned a lot from him."
Craig worked at the credit union for about two decades before retiring in recent years.
The mayor of Sussex, Marc Thorne, said Craig was a quiet community leader.
"Terry was a well-known and respected citizen of our town," he said. "His loss comes as a shock and will be felt by many in the community. He truly loved our area and was very active in promoting any activity that involved being outdoors or off the beaten path.
"This is just so tragic."
» New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal
"There was doors slamming, there was commotion, I had no clue what was going on."
But they never imagined that police were investigating a homicide across the hall.
"Oh my God, is that what happened?" Roussin said after learning of the killing Thursday morning. "It’s just crazy … I did not think anything like that."
Dana Allison Craig, 26, faces a charge of second-degree murder in the death of his father, 63-year-old Terrance Craig who is from New Brunswick.
Sources say the New Brunswick men were guests at the Motel 6 and had stopped there as they passed through town.
The case marks Brandon’s second homicide of the year.
The accused made a brief appearance in Brandon court on Thursday afternoon and remains in custody pending a second appearance on Monday.
Police continue to investigate and details are still sketchy, but the following picture of what happened has emerged.
Staff at the Middleton Avenue hotel called police to a third-floor room around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
In the room, police found a large amount of blood and the body of a man.
Police will only say that the victim suffered upper-body injuries but, while an autopsy is yet to be done, a source says it appears the victim was stabbed multiple times.
Police effectively put the hotel under lockdown — blocking vehicle access to the property and standing guard at entrances and exits.
It appears the man may have been deceased for a number of hours prior to police arrival.
Reportedly, a hotel staff member had gone to the room at the request of a woman who’d asked her to check on her husband.
The employee had found the deceased in the room and the suspect in the shower.
A source who asked not to be named said the deceased was lying on the floor and the suspect —naked, covered in blood and acting strangely — may have been trying to clean himself.
It appears he was still naked and covered in blood when police arrested him in the hotel lobby a short time later, the source said.
There’s no mention of whether any weapon was found.
By about 5:45 a.m. on Thursday, the lockdown had been lifted and, on the main floor at least, nothing appeared amiss.
Guests sipped coffee, ate breakfast, read their newspaper in the lobby — seemingly unaware that police were in the midst of homicide investigation upstairs.
A number seemed stunned when told of what had happened.
Henkel and Roussin seemed especially surprised to learn of the body discovered mere feet away, across the hall from their room.
The two men, Winnipeg residents who work for a moving company, were watching a movie in their room shortly after 8 p.m. when they heard a man and woman "freaking out" in the hall.
They then heard doors open and someone blurt, "Get to your rooms! Get to your rooms!"
Henkel and Roussin decided not to venture outside, but they sat in their room and listened to the ruckus.
"(A) woman was … saying that her husband, or something, was in the washroom and someone went in there and there was a naked man or something … it was just so confusing."
He said they could hear another person crying and exclaim, "Oh my God!" and "Phone the police!"
Roussin pressed his eye against the peephole of the door, trying to get a glimpse of what was going on, but couldn’t see much. Some time later, Roussin stepped out of the room briefly to talk to police, but no mention was made of what had happened and he couldn’t see around the officers.
Henkel and Roussin then tried to go to sleep but could still hear police radios as officers spoke of finding hair here and blood there.
Thursday morning, Henkel exited his room and had to step over a case that contained police forensic identification equipment.
Even then, he imagined that there had simply been an assault of some sort.
So, it came as a disturbing surprise to him to hear of the killing and, in the end, he said he was glad that he hadn’t seen more.
"I’m just happy that we missed all that," Henkel said.
This is the city’s second homicide of 2013. Terrance Leroy Mink, 18, was stabbed to death in a Louise Avenue apartment in the early morning of March 11.
There was one homicide in 2012. Just over a year ago, on April 4, Brandon senior Robert (Bob) Long was killed in a First Street house fire that was found to be arson.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 12, 2013