May 28th, 2024

Wife charged with murder of Cypress councillor


Carrying an oxygen tank and with her voice quivering, Deborah Belyea appeared in Medicine Hat provincial court Monday charged with second-degree murder in the disappearance of her husband, Cypress County councillor Alf Belyea.
Charges were laid Saturday, eight days after the 72-year-old man was last seen. A missing persons investigation was launched following the Thanksgiving weekend. 
At the time, RCMP told reporters he was last seen on Oct. 8 after telling his wife Deborah, 68, he was leaving their residence near Suffield to go visiting.
She is charged with second-degree homicide and causing an indignity to a human body, likely related to transporting remains to an undisclosed location. 
No other information was released by the RCMP detachment in Redcliff, which handled the case with the RCMP Major Crimes Unit. A release states that no other information will be released.
Those who knew the couple say they were “absolutely gobsmacked” by the disappearance and charges.
Belyea’s colleagues at Cypress County expressed “shock” through a statement on the county’s webpage on Saturday.
“Everyone at the County will miss his kind spirit, devotion to his work, and love for the County and the community of Suffield,” wrote Reeve Dan Hamilton.
Belyea is the second Cypress County councillor to die while in office in the last two months. Former reeve Darcy Geigle died of a medical event at his home near Walsh on Aug. 29. Belyea had been acclaimed to retain his seat in the ward of Suffield-Jenner in Monday’s municipal election.
A byelection will now be required to fill the seat Belyea first won in a 2014 byelection.
Deborah Murril Belyea appeared before Justice Eric Brooks via closed-circuit TV feed from the Medicine Hat Remand Centre to a near-empty courtroom on Monday.
Local lawyer Lyndon Heidinger also appeared remotely due to capacity restrictions in Alberta courts. He waived a formal reading of the charge, and asked the matter be adjourned until early November so he could discuss the case with his client.
She will remain in custody.

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