Man charged in death of Chestermere woman missing since last week

·1 min read

Calgary police have charged a man with manslaughter after previously seeking information on a 69-year-old woman who went missing last week.

On July 21, police say Vida Smith travelled from Chestermere to Calgary to meet with a friend, but did not return home and missed a medical appointment later that week. Smith's family then contacted RCMP and reported her missing.

On July 29, police alleged that Smith met with a friend while in Calgary.

That individual, 60-year-old Kevin Barton — also known as Chris Lee — was taken into custody on July 30 and charged with one count of manslaughter.

Barton is known nationally to law enforcement, said homicide unit Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta during a press conference.

"The relationship [between Smith and Barton] extended many years. He was known to Vida and to Vida's family," Schiavetta said. "As far as the motive for the homicide, that's still being investigated."

Calgary Police
Calgary Police

Police say they believe that Smith was killed based on evidence they have obtained, but they have not yet recovered her remains.

Police say they believe an argument took place on July 21 between 1 and 1:30 p.m. inside a white SUV parked near 2555 32 Street N.E. that may be related to the investigation.

In addition, investigators allege Barton travelled from Calgary to Edmonton on July 22 in a beige Cadillac Escalade, stopping at the Best Buy on 137 Avenue N.W.

Anyone with information about the car or with information about the accused is asked to contact the Calgary Police Service's homicide unit through its tip line at 403-428-8877, the non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers.

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