CALGARY — Undercover officers investigating a man accused of killing his wife and burying her body in the basement of their home staged a car accident to get his attention.
Allan Shyback, 40, is charged with second-degree murder and causing an indignity to a body in the death of Lisa Mitchell, 31, who was last seen in October 2012.
An undercover operation police launched in 2013 ended with Shyback's alleged confession and arrest in Winnipeg a year later.
A female officer in the sting told court that she and her partner damaged the front and rear driver's side doors on Shyback's parked car in December 2013. She then waited until he returned so she could apologize and offer to pay for the damages.
"Initially, he appeared upset and I apologized and explained to him it was a business vehicle — it was not my own and due to the road conditions I had slid into his vehicle," the officer testified Wednesday.
She arranged to have him speak to another officer whom she identified as her boss at the marketing firm where she worked.
It was the first of several meetings with the accused.
Shyback agreed to get an estimate so the damage could be repaired without an insurance claim. She told him the $1,000 quote he eventually provided was fine with her boss.
"I offered him Flames (hockey) tickets as a thank you for being so good on Dec. 4 and being willing to go ahead and receive quotes outside of insurance."
The officer said she met with Shyback on Dec. 19, 2013, to give him the $1,000 and the two shared a meal. She said he talked about his two children and plans for Christmas.
The two kept in contact through texts and phone calls. She said she called him Jan. 23, 2014, to ask if he would sign an insurance waiver.
"He asked if I would be interested in going on a date," she said. She made it clear the next day that a romantic relationship was not in the cards.
"Although flattered, I indicated I was not interested. I had just got out of a bad relationship. I was caring for an ailing mother and was focused on work. He said he's also had a bad relationship and understood."
"Did you ever make any romantic gestures toward him?" Crown prosecutor Jayme Williams asked.
Det. Dave Sweet told court he did two interviews with Shyback, the first as a witness. Shyback outlined his tumultuous relationship with Mitchell and attempts to reconcile during their nearly 10 year relationship despite his concerns about trust and infidelity.
"I'm one of five potential biological fathers for my son," Shyback told Sweet.
Shyback said he was aware that his wife had profiles on a number of dating sites.
Sweet spoke to Shyback by phone on the day of Shyback's arrest. While Shyback was with an undercover officer in Winnipeg, Sweet told him he was now handling the case and he believed it was a homicide.
Sweet said he told Shyback he wanted to search the Calgary home because he believed it contained information that would help solve Mitchell's murder.
"That part was put almost into a script to introduce the sense of anxiety — that he would need to go to the undercover police officer for some help because we believed there was evidence at the residence."
The Crown said in its opening that Shyback confessed at the end of the undercover operation to strangling Mitchell and admitting to burying her in his basement.
Mitchell's partially mummified body was later found in a plastic container buried under cement in the basement.
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Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press