An hour before more than 1,600 people gathered for a public memorial service for Tim Bosma, police made a second arrest in connection with his murder.
Mark Smich, 25, of Oakville, Ont., was arrested just after 10 a.m. Wednesday in the city, Hamilton police said. Superintendent Dan Kinsella said Mr. Smich has been identified as one of two men who drove off with Mr. Bosma on May 6, the last time the victim was seen alive.
Police said Mr. Smich will face charges of first-degree murder in connection with the killing of Mr. Bosma, a 32-year-old Ancaster resident. Dellen Millard, the 27-year-old heir to a family aviation dynasty, had already been arrested and faces charges of forcible confinement, theft over $5,000 and first-degree murder.
A Hamilton police forensics unit spent much of Wednesday searching Mr. Smich’s Oakville home. Investigators searched the inside of the house and the backyard, while officers used dogs to search a ravine area behind the house.
Officers on the scene did not address the media assembled.
The Hamilton Police Service had been searching for more suspects as they investigated the disappearance of Mr. Bosma, who had left his wife and two-year-old daughter at home the evening of May 6 to take two strangers for a test drive in the black 2007 Dodge Ram he had advertised for sale online. Mr. Bosma’s badly burned remains were found on a rural property outside of Kitchener, Ont., a week later.
Mr. Smich’s neighbours were in a state of disbelief when they saw police crews on their quiet suburban street.
“It’s absolutely shocking,” said Fred James, Mr. Smich’s next-door neighbour. “We thought it might be a petty-crime thing, but never something like this. It’s awful to hear that he’s been charged with this horrendous crime.”
Mr. Smich and another Oakville man were charged last fall with mischief for spray-painting graffiti on a Queen Elizabeth Way overpass, according to an article in the Oakville Beaver newspaper.
According to neighbours, Mr. Smich lives in the house with his mother. Two women whom neighbours described as Mr. Smich’s sisters previously lived at the house, but have since moved out.
Neighbours said the Smich family didn’t seem to have any particularly close relationships with anyone else on the street and largely kept to themselves.
“I didn’t even know his last name,” said Mr. James, adding that he would sometimes see Mr. Smich or his mother outside, but they simply “traded niceties.”
Mr. James said he would often see Mr. Smich sitting on his front porch with a group of men in their mid-to-late twenties, but he didn’t see them cause any harm. He just noticed “the occasional smell of marijuana.” Mr. James and neighbours said they had seen police called to the house on previous occasions.
Mr. Smich will appear at the John Sopinka courthouse at 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning.
Police are continuing to investigate Mr. Millard, re-examining his relationship to Laura Babcock, a Toronto woman who went missing last July, according to a CTV News report.
A relative of one man questioned by Bosma investigators also told The Globe and Mail that the interview included questions about the 2012 death of Dellen’s father, Wayne. Toronto Police said Wayne’s death on Nov. 29, 2012, was deemed a suicide at the time. Nearly six months later, the Ontario Chief Coroner’s office says the investigation into Wayne’s death remains “ongoing.
Earlier in the day, more than 1,600 mourners gathered in Hamilton to remember Mr. Bosma, who was described as a proud dad, a playful uncle and a devoted friend. Mr. Bosma’s widow, Sharlene, choked back tears as she said her two-year-old daughter asks: “Where Daddy go?” when she tucks her in bed at night. “Daddy loves you and he’s with Jesus in heaven,” she tells her.
Mourners began gathering at Carmen’s Banquet Hall – the same hall where the Bosmas held their wedding just three years ago – well before the memorial service began. More than 900 chairs were filled almost an hour beforehand and overflow crowds stood along the walls and at the back of the room.
John Veenstra, the minister at the Ancaster Reformed Church, where Mr. Bosma worshipped, wore a purple shirt in a nod to the theme colour at the couple’s wedding. The Bosmas held their reception at Carmen’s on Feb. 13, 2010. The owners donated the facility for the memorial service.