Former nurse accused of killing 8 elderly patients

Elizabeth Wettlaufer's first court appearance only lasted a few minutes

(CNN) – In a panic, family of nursing home residents arrived at Caressant Care, in Woodstock, Ontario.

Police say eight nursing home residents have been murdered – seven killed in Woodstock, one in London.

Detective superintendent Dave Truax said, “The victims were administered a drug. We’re not in a position at this time to comment further on the specifics of the drug”

Former registered nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer is charged with eight counts of first degree murder. Investigators say her alleged victims aged between 75 and 96 years old.

Susan Robinson was friends with one of those murdered – James Silcox. “I just think it’s a tragedy. I think it’s very sad. Very difficult for the family to deal with.”

Police allege the murders were committed over a 7-year period, ending in 2014. Homicides that were only discovered last month, because of an anonymous tip.

Chief William Renton of the Woodstock Police Department said, “The information is specific in relation to a period of time and the identities of the deceased.”

Wettlaufer hasn’t worked at the home since 2014, and abruptly resigned as a registered nurse just last month. Neighbors say she was dealing with addiction issues, and had just been released from a drug rehab center.

Inside the nursing home, it was business as usual.

Jamie McGowan’s wife is a resident at the home. He says there have never been any red flags. “the PSWs, the nurses, I think they are all great in there, I don’t have a problem with anybody, and the workers, they are really kind.”

Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s first court appearance only lasted a few minutes. She has yet to retain a lawyer. She’s expected to be back in court next week.

Copyright 2016 CNN