Ratte confessed: undercover officer

Denis Florian Ratte confessed to killing his wife Wendy and told Mounties he hid the body in a wooded area outside of Prince George, an RCMP undercover officer testified in court Tuesday in Prince George.

He also told officers that he poisoned a man after being cheated in a drug deal - a claim investigators discovered to be false.

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Testifying before a jury of 10 men and two women, the RCMP officer - whose name is protected by a publication ban - detailed the elaborate sting operation that led to Ratte's arrest on Dec. 2008, 13 years after his wife Wendy disappeared after running errands in downtown Prince George. He has pled not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder.

The so-called "Mr. Big" ruse is designed to convince its target, usually a suspect in a long-running homicide investigation, they are being recruited into an international criminal organization. It usually culminates with the subject meeting the fictional head of the organization - Mr. Big - and being asked to confess to a past crime.

In the case of Ratte, the operation, conducted over the summer and autumn of 2008, neared its conclusion when regular members of the RCMP visited his Prince George home, warned him they possessed new evidence in the disappearance of his wife and told him his arrest was imminent.

Ratte had experienced a number of "scenarios" over the months, including a faked "robbery" where a member of the organization threatened another undercover officer with a gun, meant to convince him of the legitimacy of the fictional criminal operation. After the RCMP visit, he met with "Mr. Big", confessed to the murder of his wife and told the undercover officers the location of her body.

Police, however, could not locate remains of Wendy Ratte. Jurors were set to see video of Ratte's confession today.

Under cross-examination, the officer also testified Denis Ratte said he murdered a man with rat poison, literally because he "ratted" Ratte out. Subsequent investigation revealed Ratte's ostensible victim died of natural causes.

Wendy Ratte disappeared at 9 a.m. on Aug. 18, 1997 near what is now Value Village, close to the intersection of 15th Avenue and Spruce Street. She failed to show up for a meeting with Denis; police found no trace of her other than her van parked near the intersection.

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