A financial adviser who lived in Innisfail has been arrested and charged with the murder of a young mother who died after she found a package on her doorstep that exploded.
Brian Malley, 55, has been charged with first-degree murder, causing an explosion of an explosive substance likely to cause serious bodily harm, death or serious damage to property and sending or delivering to a person an explosive device.
He was arrested in Red Deer on May 25th and made his first court appearance on Monday. He will return to court for plea and to seek bail on July 9th.
The explosion occurred inside Shachtay’s residence on Nov. 25th at 51st Ave. and 47 St. in Innisfail. The incident occurred after a package was delivered to the residence which RCMP confirmed was the source of the explosion.
Shachtay was disabled and in a wheelchair from a car collision. She was also a single mother to a seven-year-old girl.
RCMP have confirmed Malley, who had worked as a municipal police officer in Alberta about 30 years ago, had known Shachtay for a number of years and acted as her financial adviser. However, they would not confirm that money was the motive behind the murder.
“The murder death of a vulnerable young mother, like Victoria Shachtay, came as a shock to the citizens of this community, who like all Canadians, strive to protect those who are less able to protect themselves,” said Supt. Curtis Zablocki, district officer-in-charge for the Central Alberta District of Alberta’s RCMP.
Last Friday and into the weekend, RCMP investigators executed a search warrant at Malley’s residence located in Innisfail. Although explosives experts were involved in the search, police operations did not pose any risk to the public.
“This crime was like no other in Central Alberta and even in Canada. This was a targeted act and not a random act of violence,” said Zablocki.
Sarah Shachtay, Victoria’s sister said she wasn’t surprised to hear Malley was arrested adding that she sensed he was the one behind the crime pretty much from the beginning.
“He handled her finances and just the way it all ended. It made sense. She was so loved and cared for and such a good person that you don’t really have many people to look at in a circumstance like this.”
She added the circumstances behind her sister’s death make it especially hard to deal with.
“It makes it difficult just in the sense that it was so monstrous and she didn’t do anything to deserve this.”
Victor Shachtay, Victoria’s father said there is a sense of relief now that someone has been arrested and charged in connection to his daughter’s death.
“This is great news for us. We feel relieved. The family was experiencing a lot of trepidation that this fellow was still out in the general public,” he said. “It’s no comfort that he was a close member of the family. If he wasn’t a trusted member he wouldn’t have been able to do what he did.”
Meanwhile, the six-month investigation into Victoria’s death was led by the ‘K’ Division Serious Crimes Branch which is responsible for homicide investigations in Alberta RCMP jurisdictions. The investigation also involved support of the local RCMP detachment and many other support units, including the RCMP’s Post- Blast National Response Team, Explosive Disposal and Technology Section, Tech Crimes, Special Tactical Operations, Criminal Analysis Section, Special ‘I’ Surveillance Units, and Forensic Labs in Edmonton and Ottawa.
At its peak, the investigation involved more than 70 investigators who worked thousands of hours to gather and examine evidence related to the murder.
“Investigations like this one are challenging, largely because of the complexity and the coordinated effort which is so critical,” said Insp. Garrett Woolsey, operations officer with the Serious Crimes Branch, adding in his 24-year experience he has never seen a crime like this. “In this case, assistance from support and specialized units was significant. These arrests come as a result of that help and the relentless determination of our investigators to find those responsible for Victoria Shachtay’s death.”
‘K’ Division Serious Crimes continues its investigation into the murder, and the RCMP encourages anyone with information related to this crime to contact Crime Stoppers, or their local RCMP detachment.