Wednesday, November 23, 2011

RCMP connect Van Diest homicide to 2005 unsolved Kelowna sexual assault

RCMP news release

Suspect in two homicides
sought by RCMP
On Wednesday November 23, 2011, RCMP investigators announced that DNA evidence collected during their investigation into the homicide of Taylor Van Diest has been linked to suspect DNA from an unsolved Kelowna sexual assault in 2005. Investigators are now releasing a composite drawing of the suspect as he looked in 2005.

The RCMP are asking anyone with information about this suspect to contact police via the dedicated tip line 1-888-688-4264.

Statement by RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk at a news conference Wednesday, November 23 :

As a result of their efforts, the RCMP investigative team from the Southeast District Major Crimes Unit now have profiled DNA evidence against the person who killed Taylor Van Diest. This DNA is from an unknown male. The investigative team is also announcing this suspect DNA matches the suspect DNA evidence from a sexual assault which occurred in Kelowna in April of 2005. The Kelowna sexual assault remains unsolved.

This suspect DNA sample is not contained within the known offender DNA data bank. Investigators can confirm the match, however, they do not have the outright identity of this person at this time. The investigators are working hard to identify this man although they would appreciate any assistance the public can provide to help them identify this man.

Based on this DNA evidence we believe that the man who killed Taylor Van Diest is the same man who sexually assaulted a Kelowna woman in April of 2005.

In order to safeguard the victim involved in the sexual assault investigation, we are only able to release the following details regarding the 2005 sexual assault.

The sexual assault occurred on April 12, 2005 and was reported to the Kelowna RCMP at that time. We can confirm that the assault occurred inside the Garden of Eden Escort Agency which was then, and still is, located in the downtown area of Kelowna. The victim was an employee of the escort agency at the time of the sexual assault.

The investigative team now have a composite drawing of the suspect as he appeared in 2005. I have that composite drawing displayed here today.

The man is described as follows:

  • Caucasian male with a darker skin tone
  • 19-20 years of age (making him now 25-26 years old)
  • dark colored eyes possibly brown, with short dark hair
  • between 5'8" and 5'10" with a stocky build. He is not particularly fit or muscular.
  • As you can see on the composite drawing of the man in 2005, he had large distinct side burns and noticeably thick eyebrows.
  • Please note that the description and this composite drawing are of how he appeared in 2005. (click image for larger version or view the poster here)

We believe the suspect is a resident of the Okanagan Valley. He was a resident of the Okanagan in the spring of 2005 and he was still a resident on Halloween night of this year. It is possible he lived outside of the valley for a period of time from 2005 until 2011.

We also believe that friends, family or associates of this man hold valuable information which will help solve these crimes.

We ask that residents of the Okanagan to think back to the days just prior to Taylor’s murder on Halloween night to see if they recall some form of conflict, or personal upset on the day or days leading up to Halloween. This may include, financial pressures, relationship pressures, job loss or other serious life stressor.

Immediately following the homicide, this young man may have had unexplained visible scratches to his face, neck or arms.

There may have also been changes to his regular routine, such as missed appointments, commitments to work or school.

Friends, family and associates would have likely observed noticeable changes in his mood on or around Halloween night, which may have included a withdrawal or loss of interest in his usual activities, changes in appetite, changes in sleep patterns, irritability, increased use of alcohol or drugs or changes in personal grooming and hygiene.

Although we believe he is a resident of the Okanagan he may have made an unplanned, sudden or unexplained departure from the area shortly after the murder on Halloween night of this year in Armstrong.

This individual may be financially dependent on others or collecting social assistance.

If you have suspicions of someone you know, but have been reluctant to come forward, please help us by contacting our dedicated tip line at 1-888-688-4264, your local RCMP or police service, or provide your information to Crimestoppers. Click here for the Central Okanagan Crimestoppers tip page.

We once again ask that the general public remain vigilant and continue to take extra personal safety precautions in our communities, particularly in the Central and North Okanagan.

We recommend traveling in a group; or asking parents or friends for a ride. Travel areas of the community that have good visibility. Let family or friends know where you are going and when you expect to arrive. If you have a cell phone carry it. Report any suspicious activity right away.

Released by:

Cpl. Dan Moskaluk

Senior Media Relations Officer
South East and North District
1168 Main Street, Penticton B.C. V2A-5E8
Office: (250) 492-4300
Cell: (250) 863-7433
Fax: (250) 492-4851


Central Okanagan Crimestoppers
Click here for the Armstrong, B.C. Wanted poster for this individual.

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