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Episode 23: Elizabeth Wettlaufer Confession Part I

Elizabeth Wettlaufer has been brought for an interview with a police detective after she revealed incriminating information while under the care of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. Wettlaufer had been a registered nurse until September, 2016, and was in rehab, as she tells the detective in this interview, for an addiction to Dilaudid (a concentrated opiate-based pain medication). She eventually confesses to killing eight patients over a period of nine years.

Wettlaufer, 49, is an ordinary-looking woman, significantly overweight, in a red T-shirt and comfortable slacks. At the beginning of the interview, she sits quietly with her hands on her thighs and a pink purse on the table beside her as she waits to make her confession. “Sorry about that,” says the detective, when he finally joins her. “Too many people moving and shaking around here, and you can’t really keep track of who’s doing what … ”.

In this first hour of the interview, the detective is friendly and encouraging, and Elizabeth responds openly, appearing grateful to finally get the chance to tell her story. She first trained as a religious counselor, she explains, but went into nursing when she found it difficult to get work in the field. She was married for a while with no children. After her marriage failed, she met a woman online who moved to Ontario to be with her, and they moved in together. Eventually, this relationship also failed, leaving Wettlaufer alone with her cats.

Wettlaufer tells the detective that when she began working as a night nurse, she would steal doses of the Dilaudid from her patients. “I was always putting this pressure on myself to be a really good nurse and do everything perfectly,” she says. After taking half a pill, “that pressure was gone.” She began killing patients in 2007 and stopped in the fall of 2015; she killed three men and five women, ranging in age from 75 to 96. She returned to rehab in 2016 after having been assigned to work with diabetic children. “I was afraid that I might get that feeling of wanting to give them insulin overdoses,” she tells the detective. Faced with her breaking point—“I panicked; those were just kids”—she quit her nursing job and checked into Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, which is where she finally made the statements that led to her eventual discovery by the police. “I needed help with whatever this was,” she says. “I didn’t want this to keep going on.”

Listen to the part one of the confession here.

Watch the interrogation video on Youtube

Daniel Engberger, The Killer Nurse, Slate, July 24 2017.