A few weeks after Wayne Millard’s death, his son Dellen wrote an obituary calling him “a good man in a careless world,” saying he planned to honour his father’s memory by carrying his pilot’s license in his wallet.
On Thursday, police made a stunning announcement: Dellen Millard – the 28-year-old heir to an aviation business who is accused in the killing of Tim Bosma – has been charged in two other deaths, including that of his father in 2012.
Last year, police and the public were puzzled by the mysterious disappearance of Mr. Bosma – who went missing after leaving his home in Ancaster, Ont., to take two strangers on a test drive of his truck – and the apparent suicide of Dellen’s father, and the disappearance of his friend Laura Babcock.
But after saying in the fall that they believed the three cases had “linkages,” police went quiet on the investigation. Thursday’s announcement by Toronto Police and the Ontario Provincial Police that Mr. Millard is now charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of his father and Ms. Babock is the biggest thus far on the nearly year-long investigation.
The announcement at Toronto Police headquarters also included news that Mr. Millard’s friend Mark Smich, 26, who is charged in Mr. Bosma’s death, now faces an additional count of first-degree murder in relation to Ms. Babcock. Mr. Millard’s girlfriend, Christina Noudga, 21, has been charged with accessory after the fact in Mr. Bosma’s death.
Mr. Millard’s lawyer Deepak Paradkar said he planned to fight the charges "with vigor."
"My client will plead not guilty to these charges," he said by e-mail. "We await the evidence that has been marshalled."
Mr. Millard’s grandfather founded the Millardair airline, which his father transformed into an aircraft maintenance business. According to the mid-December, 2012, obituary written by Dellen and published in the Toronto Star, Wayne Millard loved aviation.
“For Father piloting wasn’t just his job, it was his freedom,” he wrote. He described his father as a “humanitarian” who “believed we can make a difference in the world” before adding: “With Wayne in my heart, I believe we must.”
After Wayne’s death on Nov. 29, 2012, Dellen took over the company and a multimillion-dollar hangar in Waterloo, Ont. The shooting death was originally deemed a suicide, but the arrest in the Bosma case prompted police to re-investigate.
Investigators looking into the Bosma case made several visits to Dellen’s 100-acre farm outside Kitchener, Ont., where they found the Ancaster man’s charred remains shortly after he disappeared last May. Months later, Toronto investigators were back searching the farm, although they did not say what, if anything, they retrieved.
Police would not say on Thursday if they have recovered Ms. Babcock’s remains, describing the investigation as “still continuing” – leading her mother, Linda Babcock, to tell The Globe and Mail she still believes she could be found alive. Laura Babcock went missing in early July, 2012.
Linda said she cried when police came to visit her on Thursday morning with news of the charges, but added, “I still am hopeful. They’ve just been charged, so there’s always still a chance.”
Laura Babcock and Dellen Millard had begun a sexual relationship in the first half of 2012, her ex-boyfriend, Shawn Lerner, previously told The Globe. Mr. Lerner said she phoned Mr. Millard several times before she disappeared.
Mr. Millard later told Mr. Lerner that Ms. Babcock had been asking him for drugs and a place to stay, which Mr. Millard said he declined.
On Thursday, messages of condolence poured onto a Facebook group devoted to finding Ms. Babcock, a bubbly University of Toronto graduate.
The Bosma family released a statement extending condolences to Ms. Babcock’s family. “The eight days we searched for Tim were eight days of indescribable emotions,” it read. “Our prayers are with those that are hurting with this news today.”