Rick Smith said the teen who lived next to him at the Park Motel in Trenton, Ont. had always kept to himself, but in early January he noticed his neighbour's unit seemed especially quiet.
He remembers telling his wife, "I bet you there's something wrong over there."
A few days later, police arrived for a wellness check and found the body of 17-year-old Kiean Stoddard.
That was on Jan. 7. Nearly a month later, five people have now been charged with first-degree murder.
The sign outside the Park Motel offers a "Home Away From Home," advertising cottages and rooms with a kitchenette.
Standing near his unit on Thursday, Smith said police spent about a week searching Stoddard's place and all around the motel.
Rick Smith said his room at the Park Motel was right next to Stoddard's and he's shaken by what happened. (Dan Taekema/CBC)
Knowing what happened so nearby is "scary," he said.
"I locked my door last night," Smith explained. "It makes me really nervous."
The following people have been arrested in connection with Stoddard's death:
Morgan Belyea, 22, from Belleville
Steven Courneyea, 26, from Belleville
Harold Russell, 43, from Quinte West
Aaron Ryan, 27, from Quinte West
Khadijah Courneyea, 29 from Quinte West
Police have not shared the teen's cause of death or what warrants five charges of first-degree murder.
"The only thing that I can mention is that it was the well-being check," Const. Andrew Howat said. "Police arrived. Determined, just from the situation that was there, that this required more investigation."
The constable said investigators followed "all leads," and information from the public helped bring the arrests.
Howat added that Stoddard was just 17 and had a "whole life ahead" of him, which makes what happened even harder to hear.
'Think of your own kid'
Eric Bowman was also struck by the victim's age.
Bowman has lived at the motel for about four years, and while he didn't know Stoddard well, Bowman said he feels for his family.
"Think of your own kid," he said. "What would I do if that was my son? It drives me nuts."
Eric Bowman said he's lived at the Park Motel for about four years. He didn't know Stoddard well, but was struck by how young he was, adding he 'hasn't even had a chance to live.' (Dan Taekema/CBC)
Bowman said the teen's death has shocked everyone at the motel.
"A 17-year-old, like, come on," he said. "He hasn't even had a chance to live."
Police are asking anyone with doorbell camera or dashcam video taken near 276 Dundas St. E. on the evening of Jan. 3, four days before Stoddard's body was found, to contact them.
Anyone with information can call Quinte West OPP or Crime Stoppers.