News / Calgary

Accused Calgary killer made plans to run from the police

Allan Shyback told an undercover officer he felt he had three options: lawyer up, "scorch" and "torch" his home, or change his identity and run away

Allan Shyback thought about potentially

Metro File Photo

Allan Shyback thought about potentially "torching" his home where he'd buried the body of his common-law partner Lisa Mitchell before deciding that running was his best option.

After unknowingly admitting to an undercover cop that he’d strangled his common-law wife to death and hidden her body in a makeshift cement tomb at his home, accused killer Allan Shyback made plans to run.

Shyback, 40, is charged with second-degree murder and improperly interfering with human remains in the 2012 death of his common-law partner and mother of his two children, Lisa Mitchell.

Police launched an undercover “Mr. Big” sting operation dubbed “Operation Aurora” in 2013, that ultimately resulted in the confession and arrest of Shyback.

None of the undercover officers involved in Operation Aurora can be named.

Lisa Mitchell

Metro File Photo

Lisa Mitchell

Metro reported Thursday of a recording heard in court in which Shyback received a phone call from homicide detective David Sweet. Sweet indicated that once Shyback had returned from his business trip in Winnipeg he’d need to report to police and that they would like to search his home.

The call prompted Shyback to detail an argument between himself and Mitchell, to another undercover officer who was with him, in which Mitchell lunged at him with a knife and he fought back—strangling her.

Shyback said before he knew it she was “gone,” and that in a “panic” he’d hidden her body in the basement.

On Friday court heard the recording continue as a shaken and overwhelmed Shyback went to a pub with the undercover officer for a few drinks. The two discussed what Shyback’s options were, as he believed he’d be arrested upon returning to Calgary.

“What is your gut telling you right now? What do you want to do right now? Any idea?” the undercover officer asks Shyback.

“One, getting ahold of a lawyer good enough to keep them from being able to search the house and access to me. And that’s a 50/50 best shot,” said Shyback. “ Option two, I don’t know, scorch the house. Torch it. It would have to be more than torched. It’d have to be like exploded. Gas leak problem thing.”

Allan Shyback (right) in a 2013 interview with Det. David Sweet.


Allan Shyback (right) in a 2013 interview with Det. David Sweet.

“A little dicey,” replies the officer. “What’s option three?”

“I run,” said Shyback. “I have to erase every trace of me and them. Be somewhere else and someone else.”

“Out of all those, I’d say option three is probably the most likely,” said the officer. ”I might just know some of the right people to make it happen. Do you know what I’m saying? The only three people that matter are you (and your kids) buddy, that’s it.”

Shyback tells the officer that part of him feels like no matter what happens, the outcome will be the same.

“I mean, I think I—all I was doing was delaying the inevitable,” he said. “In my mind I guess I just need to find a little peace with the fact that, in one way or another, this life is over.”

Shyback also expresses fears about what could happen to him if arrested.

“Either I’m gonna wind up behind bars for the rest of my natural life, they’re (my kids) gonna be stigmatized with the fact of what happened, until I try to get the hell out and get a new life of my own. Either way, that means abandoning everything,” he said, adding that he’d never be able to speak to the rest of his family ever again.

The officer goes on to say that he can call an associate of his and Shyback’s (another undercover officer), who can likely get Shyback and his kids passports so that they can take off to the United States.

“I’d need documents for me and the kids. Something that I can legitimately pass off somehow, some way, somewhere,” he said. “It’s the only thing that’s gonna keep me and them out of the system for any length of time.”

Shyback then called his friend who was babysitting his kids back in Calgary and asked him to pack a few things for the kids. His friend asked if he’d contacted a lawyer.

Lisa Mitchell's decomposing and partially mummified body was found in this plastic container in the makeshift cement tomb in Shyback's basement.


Lisa Mitchell's decomposing and partially mummified body was found in this plastic container in the makeshift cement tomb in Shyback's basement.

“No. This isn’t something he can help me with here,” he said, to which the officer tells him he’s making the right choice.

Shyback tells the officer he knows he’s made “a mess of things” and that the shock is beginning to wear off.

“Feeling like the strength is just being pulled right out of me,” he said. "The logistics of this is a nightmare.”

“Do you feel like it’s a pretty dark, lonely place right now? Or are you seeing past that?” asks the officer.

“I just keep seeing them…my kids,” Shyback answers.

Shyback then apologizes to the officer for dragging him into his problem.

“Buddy, that’s what family does. That’s what brothers do— help each other out.,” he says. ”You woulda done the same for me. You’re not alone in this shit. Have a little faith. Because you’re in the best hands you could possibly be in right now.”

Shyback tells the officer that at some point he started to think that if something hadn’t happened already, it wasn’t going to.

“Maybe I could put this behind me. Maybe it would be a way to finally go forward and go—it was starting to look like forward was actually a real thing,” he said. “Like it wasn’t just a holding patter of just waiting for this shit to fall down. As soon as I stopped waiting for it to fall down—it just crashed.”

Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Balfour Der, the officer explained that while he'd known Shyback, the accused had always cared a lot about his children, was having financial issues and seemed to have little to no social life. 

The officer explained that he used this knowledge when trying to get information from Shyback.

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