Take the case of 26-year-old Dustin LaFortune, who two years ago looked west 1,300 clicks away, moving from Winnipeg, Manitoba to the bustling oil town of Calgary, Alberta. By all signs, it looked as though LaFortune had been hooked up: A new job at a moving company in a booming city and living accommodations to boot. Coincidentally, LaFortune’s boss would also serve double duty as his roommate.
In the beginning, all looked glorious. Sure, the folks who loitered about the house, which served as a base for the moving company he shared with his boss, were a rough-and-tumble, boisterous bunch who drank too much and resembled a Canuck, mullet-wearing version of “The Wire,” but LaFortune had work and a regular paycheck.
Then shit started to happen.
Neighbors would see LaFortune with visible lacerations or his face swollen the size of a grapefruit. The laborer dismissed their concern saying he had been injured while at work. In September 2009 LaFortune proffered a similar story to family members when he was taken to a hospital with broken ribs. Then, just this past February, a neighbor noticed LaFortune’s fresh injuries and was told that a filing cabinet had landed on his face.
As it would happen, February would be last time LaFortune was seen or heard from–that was until he turned up at a Regina, Saskatchewan hospital in mid-April almost unrecognizable and emaciated.
LaFortune now lays in critical condition, a total physical disaster, the result of being severely pounded, hacked and starved. Graphic photos circulating about the Canadian press show LaFortune missing much of his lips and tongue. LaFortune used to weight in at a robust 250 pounds. He now weighs roughly 90 pounds.
According to authorities, the man who dumped him off at Regina General Hospital claiming to be his cousin is now the alleged suspect. Dustin Paxton was LaFortune’s co-worker and roommate.
As LaFortune lays in his hospital bed–struggling to even talk–the extent of his brain trauma remains unknown.
The Regina Police Service conceded that its officers recently searched a Regina apartment for clues in the case.
In the meantime, LaFortune’s family has posted “WANTED” posters on Facebook as Paxton remains at large.