Sarnia police caution residents amid possible fourth homicide investigation this month

·2 min read

Sarnia police are warning the public to secure their homes after a possible fourth homicide in the region in less than a month.

A man was found dead by police Tuesday afternoon inside a home in the 500 block of Devine Street. Police say the death is suspicious and they are treating the incident as a homicide.

The home is being held as a crime scene by the Sarnia Police Service Criminal Investigations Branch and the Ontario Provincial Police have also stepped in to help with the investigation, according to a news release.

This death follows another suspicious one that took place on Saturday in the 200 block of Essex Street, where 66-year-old Sue Elin Lumsden was found dead. The Criminal Investigations Branch was also called in to investigate.

About a week earlier on Jan. 14, police arrested and charged a 45-year-old Sarnia man with first degree murder following the death of 39-year-old Natalie Bartlett.

And just days before, a 32-year-old man was arrested and charged with second degree murder after 26-year-old Luis Enrique Hernandez was found injured and died in hospital.

In all of 2020, the city had three homicides.

Department resources stretched

Sarnia mayor Mike Bradley told CBC News he's reached out to police and offered support should they need more resources given the spike in deaths in the first month of the year.

"[It's] a relatively small department and they are stretched with what's going on and that makes it difficult for them," Bradley said, adding that it's evident the department is taxed as it called in the Ontario Provincial Police to assist.

A police board meeting is taking place on Thursday that Bradley said may be when police address the need for more assistance.

Check on elderly; secure doors, windows

In a news release Tuesday, Sarnia police urge home owners to be cautious by securing their doors and windows, and have outdoor lights that are on.

"We are also asking residents who have elderly family members, that live alone, to reach out to them and periodically ensure their wellbeing," reads the news release.

"We would also like to reassure the public that our officers and detectives have been diligently working on these investigations and utilizing all available resources and personnel to solve these recent crimes."

Police are asking that anyone with video camera footage from 5 p.m. on Jan. 25 to 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 26 within the 500 block of Devine Street, including nearby Russell St South, Ontario Street, and Conrad Street, contact the Criminal Investigations Branch Information Line at 519-344-8861, extension 5300 or the Sarnia Lambton Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.