Man charged with murder in Tess Richey’s death previously interviewed as witness in alleged attack

A 21-year-old man charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Tess Richey was previously interviewed as a witness by Global News after he came to the aid of a Toronto man who was allegedly attacked with a hammer.

During a Monday morning news conference, Toronto police said Kalen Schlatter was arrested and charged near his home late Sunday in connection with Richey’s death.

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However, Global News coincidentally spoke with Schlatter in August after a man was allegedly hit in the head with a hammer. Global News agreed at the time to withhold Schlatter’s identity because he said he was worried about retribution as he lived close to where the attack reportedly happened.

READ MORE: Toronto man charged with attempted murder after neighbour allegedly attacked

“I heard just the faintest little, just not even like no one else heard it, just, ‘Help,’” Schlatter told Global News during an on-camera interview on Aug. 8 as he recalled discovering the alleged attack at Earlscourt Park two days earlier.

“When I actually got close, then I saw it was a hammer. The first thing I yelled out was, ‘I called the cops.’ And then I yelled out, ‘What the hell is going on here?’”

He described how he tried to compress the wound as much as possible.

WATCH: Toronto man charged with attempted murder after another man allegedly attacked. Lama Nicolas reports. (Aug. 8)

On Monday, police said Richey was out at a bar with a friend in the Church-Wellesley Village area at around 3 a.m. on Nov. 25 when she was seen interacting with a young man. Investigators said she was witnessed with the suspect prior to her disappearance that morning.

Four days after she was reported missing, Richey was located by her mother in a stairwell outside a building under construction near Church and Wellesley streets.

READ MORE: Toronto man, 21, charged with 2nd-degree murder in death of Tess Richey

A post-mortem exam several days later revealed she died from “neck compression” after police initially said her death was believed to be an accident.

Police said both the suspect and Richey did not know each other prior to meeting on Nov. 25 and that her death is believed to be a crime of opportunity.

Officers issued a press release on Dec. 3 seeking an unknown male near the area where Richey was reported missing. Photos showing a suspect were later released by investigators.

Meanwhile, authorities said Schlatter was a contract worker who did exterior work on properties.

He appeared in court Monday morning and was remanded into custody. Schlatter is scheduled to reappear in court on Feb. 22.

— With files from David Shum

Security images of man Toronto police were looking to identify in the Tess Richey murder investigation.

Toronto police handout

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