White powder scare suspect has history of targeting ex-partners

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White powder scare suspect has history of targeting ex-partners

The full story of how a woman diagnosed with PTSD and a personality disorder, who stands accused of sending packages with ominous white powder, will emerge through court proceedings in the coming weeks and months.

What we know today is that Amanda Totchek, a.k.a. Alexa Emerson, is back in custody and charged in relation to eight suspicious package incidents in Saskatoon over the past few weeks.

Police are also looking for the public's help in identifying a woman seen in a video recently distributed to Saskatoon media outlets, including CBC.

Police say the woman in the video is not believed to be responsible for any criminal activity and that Totchek is currently the only suspect in the investigation.

Police allege that Totchek orchestrated the delivery of the suspicious packages that cost emergency services tens of thousands of dollars and disrupted businesses across the city.

On Tuesday, she was charged with eight counts of public mischief; eight counts of mischief over $5,000; 14 counts of uttering threats; six counts of identity theft; and 18 counts of breaching conditions of her bail. 

Totchek is set to appear in court May 9 for a bail hearing. Her lawyer, Morris Bodnar, said that Totchek is not happy with the latest charges because she has been following all of her release conditions.​

History of targeting ex-partners

The story less known is how Totchek's alleged actions targeted the families, friends and co-workers of her ex-lovers.

That story began in 2013 and, according to the people involved, carried through to this past weekend.

"She has been trying to ruin my life and my family's life for the past seven months," said one of her alleged victims in an email exchange with CBC. 

The alleged victim, who spoke to CBC on the condition we not use her name, is related to one of Totchek's ex-lovers. She claims that Totchek had someone impersonate her cousin in an inflammatory video sent to local media outlets this week.

Police are looking to identify the woman in the video for questioning.

The video runs a little less than two minutes and features a young woman sitting on a sofa and speaking directly to the camera. 

'No clue who that girl is'

The alleged victim believes that Totchek hired the person to impersonate her relative and tie them to the events of the past months.

"I have no clue who that girl is [in the video], but she's obviously reading from a script. I'm livid. This is absolutely crazy!!"

Totchek was in the process of returning to Saskatoon to turn herself in to police when the video arrived in the inbox of a CBC employee this weekend. ​

Police issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant for Totchek on Friday in connection to the delivery of the suspicious packages. She had been living in rural Alberta awaiting trial next month on similar charges that date back to November.

The video was sent with a cover letter. 

"This is my video testimonial that I was one of the people who sent the packages with the powder all over Saskatoon," it said.

"What started out as a harmless prank has hurt this girl and I just was told that she is being charged for what [C] and I have done. The video gives details about the packages and the day in November that the police haven't released, I'd only know because I was there. Please watch my video diary and prosecute me and [C]."

Totchek previously convicted of harassment, fraud

In June 2015, Totchek pleaded guilty in Court of Queen's Bench to a campaign of harassment against her ex-boyfriend, a Saskatoon firefighter.

She used the mail system to disrupt the lives of her victims.

It was during that sentencing that she was diagnosed with PTSD and a personality disorder.

The harassment was sophisticated, and terrifying for the victims. The details were in an agreed statement of facts presented at sentencing.

The letters contained death threats, bomb threats and accusations that her ex-boyfriend was a pedophile. Hundreds were sent to individuals and businesses. They were signed with her victim's name, and the names of other firefighters.

She was sentenced to time served and placed on probation.

Totchek surfaced again less than a year later, in October 2016.

She was again facing harassment charges.

According to court documents filed in relation to those charges, Totchek is alleged to have emailed two videos to a number of people.

The videos depict her being bound, assaulted and threatened by a local man. According to the court documents, the intent was to cause police to believe the man had caused harm to Totchek.

Her lawyer at the time, Brian Pfefferle, said Totchek turned herself in to police and was charged with mischief and criminal harassment in connection with the video.

One month later, emergency services were called to five locations in the city in a two-hour span as suspicious packages with a white powder were delivered there. The powder proved to be non-hazardous.

Totchek was charged with uttering threats and mischief in connection to those incidents and was to stand trial next month.

And then in March, emergency workers were once again called to businesses and agencies about suspicious packages with a white powder.

Police acknowledged that they were investigating possible links between those incidents and the deliveries in November.

Pfefferle is curious how the police will proceed with the November charges.

"I'll certainly be interested to see what the allegations were in terms of her involvement because she was in custody the whole time [of the November calls]," Pfefferle said.​

The video sent this past weekend offers an insight into what happened in November, and then March.

"We made those packages together with the cookies and rockets and the tissue paper. [C] put together the cards. She said that people will think the baking soda is anthrax," she said.

The woman says that Totchek is not behind the campaign of terror.

"Please watch. You have the wrong girl."