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Missing woman victim of murder, police say in announcing charges against 2 men

Chelsea Davidenas, 29, is missing and believed to have been killed. Two men, including Steven Zwick, pictured, are charged with first-degree murder.  (Calgary Police Service - image credit)
Chelsea Davidenas, 29, is missing and believed to have been killed. Two men, including Steven Zwick, pictured, are charged with first-degree murder. (Calgary Police Service - image credit)

Two Calgary men have been charged with murdering a woman who was "targeted because of her history as a sex worker," police say.

Investigators believe Chelsea Davidenas, 29, was killed hours after she was last seen on Feb. 17.

Steven Aaron Zwick, 26, and Paul Joseph Rushton, 52, each face a charge of first-degree murder.

The two men were described by police as "acquaintances."

The case was initially investigated as a missing person file after the woman's family reported her disappearance to police.

Accused trying to help locate body

While the remains of Davidenas have not been found, police say one of the men accused of her murder is trying to help investigators locate her body but is struggling to remember the exact location.

The other man was not involved in that aspect of the crime, according to police.

Investigators believe Davidenas was lured to a rooming house in the northeast community of Pineridge and killed inside.

Although her body has not been found, police say both physical and digital evidence led investigators to conclude Davidenas was killed in the home.

Police believe Davidenas's body was removed from the home three days later.

Cellphone records and security camera footage helped lead police to Zwick.

"We determined that the individual, Mr. Zwick, was known to Chelsea. They had a previous relationship and he became our prime suspect," said Staff Sgt. Mark Rahn of the CPS homicide unit.

Police say Rushton was also known to the victim.

Investigators allege Davidenas's body was transported on Feb. 20 in a stolen, dark blue, low-profile, 2001 Honda Civic with white rims.

Police believe the victim was taken to a "rural, lightly treed area southeast of Chestermere."

As CPS continues the search, police are asking rural landowners southeast of the city to contact police if they notice anything out of the ordinary on their properties.

Zwick and Rushton are due in court Thursday.

The premeditation, luring and unlawful confinement aspects of the crime led police, in consultation with the Crown, to lay the charge of first-degree murder, according to Rahn.

Zwick previously wanted

On March 6, CPS posted an appeal on its social media accounts, asking for the public's help in finding Zwick, who was wanted at the time on weapons, drugs and failure to comply charges.

Calgary police posted this 'wanted' poster asking the public for help finding Steven Zwick, who was wanted for drug, weapons and fail to comply charges. Zwick is now charged with murder.
Calgary police posted this 'wanted' poster asking the public for help finding Steven Zwick, who was wanted for drug, weapons and fail to comply charges. Zwick is now charged with murder.

Calgary police posted this 'wanted' poster asking the public for help finding Steven Zwick, who was wanted for drug, weapons and fail to comply charges. Zwick is now charged with murder. (Calgary Police Service/Facebook)

The victim's stepfather reposted that CPS appeal to his personal Facebook account, saying Zwick "may have information as to the whereabouts of Chelsea."

Investigators don't believe this case is connected to any other missing person cases in Calgary.

Rahn says investigators have been working "tirelessly" over the past month to locate Davidenas.

"Tragically, this is not the update that we'd hope to make," said Rahn.

"We are committed to finding answers for Chelsea's family and will not rest until her remains have been located."