Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Arpad Horvath (left) and James Silcox.


The two men lived in the same quiet corner of Southwestern Ontario after separately witnessing some of the most tragic moments of the past century.

One had been a Second World War veteran. The other came to Canada when Soviet troops crushed an uprising in his native country.

They died seven years and 50 kilometres apart.

Story continues below advertisement

Today, they are known as the first and the last alleged victims of Elizabeth Wettlaufer, the former nurse who has been charged with murdering eight elderly nursing-home residents.

It was an unlikely final twist for James Silcox and Arpad Horvath, two men who had led separate full lives.

According to police, Mr. Silcox was the first alleged victim when he died in 2007.

Mr. Silcox was only 17 when he enlisted in the Canadian Army, at a time when German troops were marching through continental Europe. He spent more than four years overseas with the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, at the time the branch of the military responsible for transport and supply of troops.

His family said he served in all the main theatres where there were Canadian ground troops in Europe – Sicily, the Italian mainland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. He was proud to have been in Holland when it was liberated.

After the war, he wed Agnes Bond, with whom he would remain married for more than six decades. He became a foreman at the Standard Tube factory in Woodstock.

While Mr. Silcox was settling in postwar Canada, Mr. Horvath, who was 15 years younger, was growing up behind the Iron Curtain.

Story continues below advertisement

In the fall of 1956, a student protest that was brutally crushed in Budapest led to a full-scale revolution. Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary.

Mr. Horvath, who was 18, was among 200,000 Hungarian refugees who escaped to the West.

In an interview, his daughter-in-law, Audrey, said Mr. Horvath left on his own and made his way to Austria, bribing the border guards with cigarettes and chewing gum.

He and his brother, Frank, eventually moved to Ontario because they had an uncle who lived in Leamington.

"He loved Canada and if anyone said anything bad about Canada, he'd say 'This is the place that gave me a home,'" Audrey Horvath said.

Mr. Horvath became the owner of a tool and die company in London, Ont.

Story continues below advertisement

Johan Gall, a London optometrist, said his Hungarian-born mother had worked at Mr. Horvath's factory.

"He employed immigrant workers of all nationalities to allow them to get a foothold in Canada. He appreciated the opportunities that Canada provided to people who were prepared to work," Dr. Gall said in an e-mail interview.

He said Mr. Horvath owned two farms on the outskirts of London. One of the farms was the family homestead and had excavated ponds and its own menagerie of birds and land fauna.

In a tribute that he posted on Mr. Horvath's online death notice, Dr. Gall recalled the "deer scampering through the trees, peacocks strutting their colourful feather, the sound of guinea hens filling the silent night air and ponds stocked with thousands of trout."

Mr. Horvath loved hunting, a pursuit that took him across the world. He was also a long-time president of London's Hungarian Club.

Meanwhile, in nearby Woodstock, Mr. Silcox worked for 25 years at his factory.

Story continues below advertisement

He and his wife raised six children. He was known as a handyman and a tinkerer.

In his eulogy, he was described as "a gentleman; a helpmate; a problem solver; a fixer; a builder; a prankster; an animal lover; a true card; a compassionate and loving human being and a man of deep abiding faith."

As their health declined, the families had to place them in nursing home.

Mr. Silcox stayed at the Caressant Care nursing home in Woodstock.

He suffered from Alzheimer's disease and diabetes and had a hip replacement.

According to the allegations in the charge sheet filed by police against Ms. Wettlaufer, she is alleged to have committed murder on Mr. Silcox on Aug. 11, 2007. He was 84.

Story continues below advertisement

There would be another six deaths attributed to Ms. Wettlaufer at the Caressant home.

Then, in 2014, she got a job at the Meadow Park Long Term Care home.

Mr. Horvath was a resident there. He had suffered several strokes and had dementia.

Police allege that she caused his Aug. 31, 2014, death. He was 75 and would be the last person she is alleged to have murdered.

Without giving details, police say the deaths came after Ms. Wettlaufer administered drugs to her patients.

News of her arrest brought shock and grief to families who had accepted that their kin had died naturally.

Story continues below advertisement

"They've all accepted it and moved on, that it was natural, and now we're told that it wasn't," said Glen Smith, a son-in-law of Mr. Silcox.

At the Horvath family home, a relative mentioned her two young children to a visiting reporter.

"My kids are coming home … I don't know how to tell them this."

With reports from Eric Andrew-Gee and Colin Freeze

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies