9. The Murder Of Tammy Homolka May Not Have Been An Accident
By 1990, Bernardo had developed an interest in 15-year-old Tammy Homolka, Karla’s youngest sister. Together, the pair devised a plan to drug and rape the teenager over the Christmas holiday. On December 24, that’s exactly what they did. At some point during the attack, Tammy began to choke. Bernardo and Homolka called 911, but it was too late. Tammy passed away at the hospital later that night.
It has been largely accepted that Tammy’s death was an accident. Bernardo and Homolka had only intended to drug and rape their victim. However, journalist Trish Wood and numerous medical experts believe that Karla knew precisely what she was doing. She had stolen a bottle of halothane, a liquid form of anesthetic, from the veterinary clinic she worked at. As an animal health technician, Homolka had a working knowledge of halothane. She was aware that the anesthetic should be administered through a vaporizer and that animals under the drug should have a breathing tube inserted. During testimony, Karla admitted that she had done her research before drugging Tammy. She ultimately chose to use the sleeping tablet Halcion after studying the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties and discovering that death was not listed as an outcome in the case of Halcion overdose. However, the same cannot be said of halothane.
The initial autopsy of Tammy Homolka concluded that she had died of natural causes. The significant burn across her cheek was identified as a chemical burn, as no facial hair had been singed. It was concluded that the burn was a result of “gastric juices” due to vomiting. Shortly after Bernardo and Homolka were arrested, Tammy’s body was exhumed. A second autopsy concluded that this was not the case. It also found that smothering could not be ruled out as a cause of death. A videotape taken during the rape shows that Karla had covered Tammy’s nose and mouth with the halothane cloth, leading many to speculate that Tammy’s death was not as accidental as Homolka would have you believe.