News

Homicide victim a 'gentle man'

By Susan Gamble, Brantford Expositor

Bob Waite was a gentle man who loved being on the water and was such a creature of habit that when he failed to turn up for his regular breakfast with his retired buddies, they were alarmed.

Mr. Waite was found dead March 1 at about 3 p.m. at Diamond Towing, the Papple Road business he operated in Cainsville, which was also his home.

As his friends and family worried about his failure to appear at his regular stops, they first filed a missing person report with Brant OPP and then asked the police to come to the business, said Mr. Waite's son, Brandon Waite.

"I had just got back from Mexico and went to see him on Saturday and he was fine but a friend called on Tuesday to say he hadn't been to breakfast in two days," Waite said.

"That's not like my dad so we knew something was not right."

Waite and the friend went to the tow shop and found the gates open, doors locked and all the vehicles in place but could find no sign of Mr. Waite.

"He was at the shop but nobody saw him. We didn't look hard enough."

Waite said they called the police back, saying something wasn't right and a crew of investigators took over, finding Mr. Waite's body and declaring him dead.

A post-mortem on Friday confirmed his death should be considered a homicide.

In the towing business for 40 years, Mr. Waite was known as a long-timer who helped found the towing association in the area.

"He was trying to make the towing industry more reputable and honest in this area than the ones you hear about in other cities," said his son.

"The other tow companies were really on board and helped set up a rotation service so it eliminated chasing calls."

At 69, Mr. Waite was somewhat semi-retired, working when he chose and talking a lot about getting out of the business entirely.

He became more selective about the calls he took but he didn't want to be bored and leave the work.

"It's a thankless job," said Waite, who worked with his dad in the early years. "But dad lived for it."

He noted that many in the police service dealing with the death of Mr. Waite have known and worked with the man for years and are taken aback by his death.

"It's not something that makes sense. It's one of those things we may never know the answer to."

Mr. Waite also loved the property that was his business and his home, on a quiet road that backed to a rail trail through Cainsville.

There was a pond created about 50 years ago to service the rail line near the property and Mr. Waite kept it full to use for his kayak in the summer and ice skating in the winter.

He loved the Muskoka area as well, especially Lake Joseph and Lake Rosseau.

Long-time friend Barb Rowe said Mr. Waite knew all of the ducks at his pond and was tuned in to the arrival or departure of any new "critter."

"He was an overgrown big kid at heart. He liked his Bobcat and his bulldozer, which he named Alice."

But, Rowe said, Mr. Waite had an agile and witty mind that was full of information.

"He did a lot of reading and knew a lot about a lot of things. You'd bring up a topic and Bob would know about it: old movies, big band music and who sang what song."

Rowe's son, Dylan, took a liking to Mr. Waite and was allowed to hang out at the towing yard in the summer. The family included him in special dinners and barbecues and Rowe ended up joining Mr. Waite and his buddies for a weekly dinner where she was the only female.

"I worried about him at the shop alone. He had a break-in once before and I asked him 'Aren't you afraid someone's going to hurt you?' but he never was."

Rowe said Diamond Towing was equipped with security cameras and she hopes the investigation will soon provide police with leads.

"I don't know who would want to hurt Bob. He was never mean to anyone, even if someone yelled at him on the job, he was never confrontational."

Mr. Waite leaves his son Brandon and Rona Waite, and daughter Kristen and Nathan Spiers. He was grandfather to Jenna, Tyler, Braelyn, Cole and Maggie and brother to Susan Buzek.

Mr. Waite was predeceased by his brother, William Waite, and sister, Dr. Marylou Spitzer.

Cremation has taken place and friends are invited to Beckett-Glaves Family Funeral Centre, 88 Brant Ave. on Wednesday to visit from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The family is requesting donations to Autism Canada or the Brant SPCA in lieu of flowers

 

Do you know something about Bob Waite's death?

Brant OPP are eager to speak to anyone who any contact with Mr. Waite between Sunday, Feb. 26 at noon to March 1 when he was found.

They also are looking for those who may have passed Diamond Towing during that time.

"There's a walking trail behind Diamond Towing," said Const. Ed Sanchuk, "so anyone walking there might have seen something suspicious or even trivial but we're asking them to give our investigators a call because it could be the piece of the puzzle we need."

Sanchuk said the police are not releasing the cause of Mr. Waite's death at this point and won't comment about where, precisely, he was found.

Officers have been posted at Diamond Towing since Wednesday and found it to be a highly travelled roadway for people using the walking trail.

Sanchuk said since the police don't know who killed Mr. Waite, they are urging business owners and residents to make their own safety a priority.

"Lock doors and windows and contact us if you have any concerns," said Sanchuk.

And anyone with any information is asked to call a tip line set up by the OPP at 1-855-835-5677 or the detachment at 1-888-310-1122. Det. Insp. Brad Nunn is the lead investigator in the case.

Anonymous tips can be made through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or by leaving an online message at www.helpsolvecrime.com.