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Red Deer murder victim found in freezer

A Red Deer murder victim whose body was found in his residence was believed to have been killed during a break and enter, say police.

The body of Curtis Leroy Rangen, 43, of Red Deer was found in a chest freezer during a regularly scheduled welfare check on May 3.

An intensive investigation involving up to 40 police officers from various branches was launched, said RCMP Supt. Warren Dosko at a Thursday afternoon news conference in Red Deer.

A suspect was tracked to Kamloops, where RCMP arrested him outside a hotel.

Mark William Bitterman, 30, of no fixed address has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Rangen’s death. He is in custody and is scheduled to make his first court appearance in Red Deer on Friday.

Bitterman also faces numerous charges, along with another man and woman, in connection with robberies in Red Deer related to online Internet escort services.

The three, who were all arrested in Kamloops on June 13, face a combined 48 charges.

Lindsey Rae Mazzei, 30, of Red Deer, has been charged with numerous Criminal Code charges. She remains in custody and will appear in Red Deer provincial court today.

Florian Edward Poitra, 31, of no fixed address, has been charged with numerous Criminal Code charges. He remains in custody and will also appear in Red Deer provincial court today.

Police say the two other suspects are not believed to be involved in Rangen’s death.

All three face charges of robbery with a firearm, extortion with a firearm, kidnapping with a firearm, forcible confinement, uttering threats, theft over $5,000, unauthorized possession of a firearm, use of an imitation firearm in the commission of an indictable offence and use of a firearm while committing an indictable offence.

Police allege that in two instances, men contacted a female from an online website and set up a location and time to meet with them.

Once the men arrived at the meeting place, two male suspects brandishing a knife or firearm would steal money, credit cards and, in one instance, a vehicle from the victim.

Police said during one of those robberies a male was held against his will for an extended period of time before escaping and contacting police.

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