Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New mystery envelops Salisbury House slaying

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THE MYSTERY DEEPENS... As if there weren't enough puzzles surrounding last month's slaying of 23-year-old Jeff Lau at a Salisbury House, now there's more.

Last week, in a column about the guilt-associated grieving of his mother Cathie, I mentioned a previously unreported aspect of the case she shared with me.

Cathie said there had been a hit-and-run in the parking lot of an Osborne Village hotel around the Canada Day weekend in which her son suffered a head injury and had initially been in Health Sciences Centre in critical condition. When I checked with police before writing the column to see if they had linked that with the shooting that took Lau's life, homicide detectives refused to comment.

Here's where it gets strange.

A spokesman for the Osborne Village Inn, the only hotel in that area, contends whatever happened, whenever it happened, didn't happen on the hotel's property. He has good reason to say that. The spokesman noted police didn't interview hotel staff about any such alleged incident and didn't ask for surveillance video, either.

"So it didn't happen on our property," he said.

I believe him.

I can appreciate the hotel owner's sensitivity. No hotel needs to have a report of a crime dumped on their property when the evidence, or lack thereof, suggests it didn't happen there.

So if it didn't happen there, where? Or was Cathie simply misled about what happened and where by a son who didn't want her to know what went down last summer?

What's odd about that, though, is Cathie said police told her they had the plate number of the car his mother said struck Jeff. Or was it someone in the car who struck him?

As of Wednesday, when I checked again and asked police if there was a hit-and-run, and if so, where it happened, detectives still weren't saying.

Meanwhile, I received several emails after the column. One was from another mother who was reaching out to Cathie because her son had been slain years ago in a similar way.

Then there was this one from another mother named Carol Robinson.

"My son was at the table with Jeff when this tragic event occurred and I carry thankfulness my son and his cousin were not harmed and sorrow for Jeff's parents and siblings. I have been told of a number of incidences where these boys helped/stood up for those who could not help themselves, and that makes me proud as a parent and also fearful. I was at Jeff's funeral and was glad to see many young people had parents there with them. I hope they saw the sorrow in their parents' eyes for someone else's son and can imagine what it would be for that parent if it had been them. I am also grateful to Jeff's mother for her courage to speak against retaliation, that the vicious cycle of violence only hurts. You have printed articles that made Jeff a person, a son, a friend, not just someone caught up in a questionable lifestyle, and I believe people need to see these kinds of articles to put faces on these young people who die so tragically."

-- -- --

SAY A LITTLE YOU-KNOW-WHAT FOR YOU KNOW WHO... Legendary local activist Nick Ternette is in Grace Hospital. At last report, he was in satisfactory condition on IV antibiotics and, from what I can gather, he's bored. His wife, Emily, asked that you please send "your prayers or positive thoughts, or whatever you do... "

A call or visit would be nice, too.

-- -- --

AND FINALLY, A LITTLE TRASH TALK PICK-ME-UP... One of my Linden Woods neighbours stopped me on the street Wednesday to explain why his garbage was in bags in front of his house instead of in one of the new garbage carts.

He said last week the trash truck broke the handle on his cart.

The city has promised to fix it, but meanwhile the bags he put the garbage in were supposed to be picked up Monday. They weren't, of course.

It all reminded me of Oct. 1, the first day of city-wide pickup under the new system, and something another neighbour said.

The other neighbour is the city's solid waste manager, Darryl Drohomerski.

"There's a few little things -- hiccups here and there," Drohomerski said back then. "For the first day, everything looks pretty good."

This, I should inform you, was after one of those shiny new trash trucks broke down on that first day -- at the top of his street.

gordon.sinclair@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 25, 2012 B1

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