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Friend's testimony alleges marital struggles at trial of man accused of killing missing wife

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The trial of John Sedo, accused of killing his missing wife, resumed Wednesday with the couple's longtime friend and former police inspector taking the stand to shed light on the Sedo's relationship and the events leading up to Helen Sedo's disappearance in 2020.

Retired Toronto police inspector James Brown shared with the Newmarket courtroom that he, John and Helen had known each other for roughly 50 years, having attended high school together.

Brown disclosed he first became aware of troubles in the Sedo's marriage around 2017 or 2018, but then told the court he saw them socially later, and they "seemed like a normal, happy couple."

It wasn't until a few years later, on July 31, 2020, Brown testified he got a call from John.

He said John "sounded stressed" and wanted to speak with him in person.

Brown told the courtroom John told him he and Helen got into an argument two days earlier, on July 29, about caring for her father, who was battling dementia in a long-term care home, and she left.

The former cop testified John told him he had gone to get Helen's car that was being repaired, and when he got home, she was gone.

During cross-examination, Brown admitted uncertainties about the events, acknowledging potential inaccuracies in his memory.

He recounted John's account of going to Huntsville to clear his head and ride his dirt bike, leaving his cell phone behind. He said John returned to Aurora to find Helen still missing on July 30.

Brown told the court John called him the following day and said Helen was gone. He testified to telling John to contact the police the next morning and gather information for the investigators.

The Crown questioned why the retired officer of 35 years didn't advise his friend to call the police immediately to report his wife missing, to which Brown responded he didn't know.

He also said he couldn't remember if John stayed the night at his house and said he had assumed Helen wanted some space from her husband.

When pressed further, Brown said he couldn't confirm whether John actively searched for Helen and told the courtroom he had no idea what transpired, adding, "I am incredibly conflicted and stressed about this."

The trial is scheduled to continue with expected testimony from York Regional Police investigators.

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