By NATALIE APPLETON
Minutes after seeing her husband’s drained face on a video screen in a Vernon courtroom Wednesday, Deb Foerster was caught on camera hitting a photographer with her purse.
Stephen Foerster was arrested seven days ago and charged with obstruction of justice and accessory to murder after the fact in the Halloween death of Armstrong teen Taylor Van Diest.
One of Foerster’s supporters, an unidentified male, left the courthouse with Deb Foerster out a side door. At the sight of the cameras, the pair stopped. The man covered Deb Foerster with his coat, and they continued walking along the sidewalk outside the courthouse.
Seconds later, footage from a CBC videographer shows her lunging toward the Globe and Mail photographer and hitting him with her purse. Meanwhile, CTV videographer Curtis Allen was allegedly attacked by the male.
“He grabbed me and tried to push me out of his way,” Allen said in a Twitter post, adding he wasn’t harmed.
The male Foerster supporter then strode towards Deb Foerster, saying “That’s enough.” She yelled
“F--- off,” and the pair carried on pacing up the sidewalk with the male’s coat around her head.
Deb Foerster had been quiet but teary after the sheriff led her husband away from the Kamloops video feed.
With tired, downcast eyes, the
58-year-old Cherryville man had agreed not to have any contact with his son, Matthew Stephen Foerster, who is also being held at the Kamloops Correctional Centre. The 26-year-old, who was arrested at an Ontario motel last Wednesday, is charged with second-degree murder in the Halloween death of 18-year-old Van Diest. Her fatally beaten body was found by family and RCMP near the railway tracks when she failed to meet a friend to go trick-or-treating.
On Wednesday, Stephen Foerster sat upright, hands still and cuffed on his lap as his lawyer, Bill Firman, asked for another week to read his client’s charges: accessory to murder after the fact and obstruction of justice.
Firman, a former Coldstream councillor, spoke to Foerster on the phone for the first time after his arrest. Firman said he hasn’t spent enough time with his client to say how he’s faring behind bars.
“Getting charged with a crime is not a happy event, so of course he’s going to be feeling the blues about the whole thing.”
Some in the North Okanagan were shocked when RCMP announced the pair was arrested last week; for months Armstrong residents had been wondering who could have killed “a beautiful, special girl,” according to Van Diest’s friends. Others, who saw the sketch police released last fall of a man with dark eyes and sideburns, were not surprised.
“Well, when the sketch came out ... anybody that knew Matt said that’s who it was, by the sketch,” said Eugene Foisy, a Cherryville director with the Regional District of North Okanagan. He told the CBC Tuesday the sketch artist must have been good.
“When they did make the announcement, we weren’t surprised because they had been looking for him.”
The composite drawing of Matthew Foerster was created after an attack at Kelowna’s Garden of Eden escort agency on April 12, 2005. As a result of that incident, he is also now facing one count of sexual assault and unlawful confinement. Matthew Foerster is also facing charges in connection with an alleged home invasion in Cherryville on Oct. 19, 2004, involving a 19-year-old woman.
Matthew Foerster made his first court appearance in Kelowna Tuesday before being transferred to cells in Kamloops. While he has no previous criminal record, RCMP said at a press conference in Armstrong last week that Stephen Foerster was “known to police.”