Labelled a "rat" by a fellow prostitute, a city
woman was tortured, carved up and killed before
being wrapped in plastic sheets, stuffed in a hockey
bag and deposited in a city dump.
Those chilling details emerged yesterday in a
statement of facts filed by the Crown after one of
three murder suspects pleaded guilty to
Crystal Dawn Struthers admitted taking part in
the confinement and torture of Ruchael Eva Friars,
34, whose body was discovered nearly two months
after her death.
Struthers, 28, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in
the slaying of Friars, who was killed several hours
after being confined in a crack house April 30,
The two women -- along with two other prostitutes
-- were smoking crack cocaine when Struthers took
notice of Friars, the statement filed as a court
"Struthers ... told (the others) that Friars was
a 'rat' and specifically was responsible for
providing information to the police that led to the
arrest of friends of the women," the statement said.
The victim was then locked in the room where the
woman had been smoking crack. Her hair was cut off
and she was forced to write a note that said "I'm a
rat" hundreds of times.
"Friars was bound and cut with utility blades
across her back and the bottom of her feet ... When
Friars screamed in pain, an attempt was made to glue
her eyes and mouth shut with Super Glue."
She was then drugged with an antipsychotic
narcotic, beaten repeatedly and had the word "goof"
carved into her forehead.
In a statement to police following her 2006
arrest, Struthers said Friars was probably conscious
for about the first four hours of the attack.
She told Det. Lionel Busch Friars was sedated
"'cause they knew she'd scream."
Struthers said one of the other women wanted to
leave, but was told she couldn't.
"I said, 'Yeah man, we're all in this together
... Like, we're all staying here until this girl
takes her last breath.' "
An autopsy confirmed Friars had multiple cuts on
her back, glue on her eye lid, and a sedative in her
blood, but could not determine cause of death.
Struthers' sentencing hearing will take place after
she has a psychological and risk assessment.
Sara Ann Rowe had her hearing on a first-degree
murder charge adjourned until next October. The date
for the first-degree murder trial of Alexis
Vandenberg has not yet been set.