Grandson is suspect in 82-year-old woman's death, police say in court filings
Investigators have zeroed in on the grandson of a slain 82-year-old woman as the suspect in a homicide investigation dating back to last year.
But they are still waiting for key evidence — vials of the suspect's blood — to come back from the RCMP forensic lab.
Those details are spelled out in court documents obtained by CBC News — a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary application to keep items seized as part of the homicide investigation.
The RNC said it believes Brandon Tobin, 28, killed his grandmother, Mildred (Millie) Brake in their shared home last winter.
He has not been criminally charged in relation to her death, and has not been publicly named by the RNC as a suspect.
Paramedics were called to Brake's home on Mitchell Court, off Elizabeth Avenue, shortly before 11 p.m. on March 16, 2022. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The RNC later said her death was deemed a homicide but offered no additional information.
Brake's obituary illustrates a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who "lived a full and warm life filled with joy and kindness."
Documents state the RNC arrested Tobin the next day and took him to the Health Sciences Centre for unknown medical treatment. That treatment included taking blood samples. Police got a warrant soon after, to seize those four vials of blood.
Officers searched the home and swabbed red stains on door frames, walls and the stairs. They also seized red-stained towels. The items were sent to the RCMP forensic laboratory in Ottawa. They have since been analyzed and returned to the RNC.
However, the RNC said it is still waiting on the four vials of Tobin's blood to be analyzed.
"To date the RCMP lab has had these exhibits for 322 days and RNC has yet to receive the results of the analysis of the blood," said the court filing, dated Feb. 24, 2023.
A sergeant with the RNC contacted the crime lab in late February to ask for a timeline and was "advised that the analysis was still being completed and was given notice that due to forensic lab backlog another six month retention date would be issued."
Turnaround times vary: RCMP
In a statement to CBC News, the RCMP said the National Forensic Laboratory Services cannot comment on any specific investigation or request for service.
Spokesperson Cpl. Kim Chamberland said that, in general terms, turnaround times vary depending on the type of analysis, service demand and capacity.
"In some cases investigations can have additional requests for service from the investigating agency that may be received after the original submission," said Chamberland in an email.
"Where circumstances dictate, priority status can be authorized for specific service requests."
There are three RCMP labs across Canada, in Ottawa, Edmonton and Surrey, B.C., which service all provinces except for Ontario and Quebec.
Tobin serving federal sentence
Tobin is already serving a federal prison sentence related to charges that stemmed from the homicide investigation.
The documents say investigators found a bag of cocaine while searching Brake's home following her death. The RNC was later granted a search warrant and seized a handgun, ammunition, a half kilogram of cocaine and drug paraphernalia.
Tobin was convicted last fall of an array of drug- and weapons-related offences.
He's currently incarcerated at Springhill Institution in Nova Scotia.
It is not his first brush with the law. Tobin was sentenced in December 2014 to just over four years in prison after beating another man with a baseball bat. He was originally charged with attempted murder but later pleaded guilty to aggravated assault.