Durham Regional Police charged 46-year-old Adam Strong with two counts of first-degree murder on Thursday in the deaths of 18-year-old Rori Hache and 18-year-old Kandis Fitzpatrick. Strong appeared over video link in an Oshawa court room Friday morning where his case was put over. Catherine McDonald has the latest.
OSHAWA, Ont. – The case of a man charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of two missing teens has been put over to Nov. 30 following a brief court appearance on Friday.
Adam Strong charged with first-degree murder in deaths of two women who went missing in Oshawa
Durham regional police say Adam Strong, 46, is facing first-degree murder charges in the deaths of both Rori Hache and Kandis Fitzpatrick.
Strong was first arrested in December 2017, months after Hache’s torso was found floating in Lake Ontario.
READ MORE: DNA of missing woman confirmed at apartment where remains of pregnant Oshawa teen found: police
In July, police confirmed they had found Fitzpatrick’s DNA in Strong’s basement apartment, ending the search for the 18-year-old who was last seen in 2008.
Video: Rori Haches mother speaks outside Oshawa courthouse
Strong was initially charged with indecent interference with a dead body in Hache’s case, but police say that charge will now be dropped in light of the more serious allegations.
Hes told he will be appearing by video and Strong says not in person? JP says no. Court ends #rorihache #kandisfitzpatrick
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OSHAWA — Two charges of murder have been laid against an Oshawa man after DNA linked to two missing women was found in his downtown apartment.
An audible gasp arose from spectators in a crowded Oshawa courtroom Thursday morning when the startling development in the case of Adam Strong was announced.
Durham police Det. Sgt. Mitch Martin of the homicide unit confirmed Strong, 46, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Rori Hache, whose remains were found in Strong’s McMillan Drive apartment in late 2017, and Kandis Fitzpatrick, whose DNA was discovered during a subsequent police investigation of the premises.
The news of the murder charges comes almost 11 months after Strong was charged with a single count of interference with a dead body relating to Hache in December of 2017. Strong has been in custody since his arrest.
“We’ve reached the point where we have the reasonable grounds to lay the charges,” said Martin, who was in attendance for Strong’s appearance by video link in a remand court. “He’ll be arrested and charged today.”
News of the murder charges — they were announced to the court by Tom Balka, the lawyer hired by Strong to defend him on the interference with a dead body charge, the only count he faced until Thursday — brought about an emotional response from some in the courtroom, including Hache’s mother, Shanan Dionne. Tears streamed down Dionne’s face as she made her way out of the courtroom, where she was met by a group of supporters.
Dionne, who has attended all of Strong’s numerous court appearances and who has at times voiced her frustration with the slow pace of the process, expressed appreciation for the police work that brought about the charges.
“I say thank you to the Durham regional police homicide unit, to the cops on the beat, to everybody who’s been involved since day one,” she said. “These guys haven’t stopped since day one and I am indebted to them forever.”
Strong, bearded and wearing glasses, and with his long black hair in a ponytail, appeared to show little reaction as the development was discussed in court. The existing charge against him was withdrawn by the Crown. Durham officers were expected to arrest Strong at the Central East Corrections Centre in Lindsay Thursday and charge him with first-degree murder.
The development came a little less than a month after a preliminary hearing for Strong on the charge related to Hache was adjourned on the morning it began. At that time the Crown asked for the adjournment, citing the possibility more charges may be laid.
Hache, 18, disappeared in August 2017. A few weeks later her torso was discovered in the waters of Oshawa Harbour. Strong was arrested in December after Hache’s remains were found in his McMillan Drive apartment.
In July of 2018, Durham police announced that DNA from a second woman, Kandis Fitzpatrick, was discovered during their extensive search of Strong’s apartment. Fitzpatrick was 18 when she went missing in 2008.
Durham cops, led by homicide Det. Darren Short, spent weeks combing through the premises on McMillan Drive where Strong had lived for some time in a basement apartment.
“I’ve heard many people say that’s the longest search at a residence in (Durham police) history,” Short said during an interview in early 2018. “We gathered a substantial amount of items from the residence.”
On Thursday, Martin acknowledged the duration of the investigation, and the anxiety caused to the community as that probe continued for months.
“It’s been stressful on the investigators, and it’s been stressful on the community,” he said.
“We’re still collecting evidence,” Martin added. “It has been completely thorough. You can’t rush these investigations. They take their own pace.”