Register or login today to start collecting Courier points!

           | 

Front Page News

Accused in Taylor Van Diest murder Matthew Foerster appears in court

 

Matthew Foerster spent his first weekend behind bars in one of the sparsest jails in the province.
The man charged with the second-degree murder of Taylor Van Diest was booked into the Kelowna RCMP’s cell block on Friday evening after police transported him from Ontario. He waited more than three days before he appeared in ankle shackles in a Kelowna courtroom Tuesday morning.
Despite the lack of amenities — no reading material, exercise or TV — the 26-year-old Cherryville man looked thinner and healthier than the image of him police distributed after his arrest last Wednesday. Clean-shaven and with short, dark hair, Foerster stood straight with arms by his side wearing a grey T-shirt in the prisoner’s dock. Two sheriffs were in the courtroom while two more waited outside.
The court appearance was Foerster’s first since prosecutors approved charges alleging that he killed Van Diest in Armstrong on Halloween and committed two violent assaults on women in 2004 and 2005. When Judge Anne Wallace read aloud each charge and asked him if he understood, he softly answered yes each time.
Foerster’s case was adjourned to May 10, when he’ll appear in a Kelowna court by video from Kamloops jail. He’s detained unless he makes bail in a separate hearing in B.C. Supreme Court.  
Darren Kautz, a Vernon lawyer, is representing Foerster, but asked a Kelowna lawyer to appear as his agent. Kautz couldn’t be reached by phone Tuesday.
Taylor was walking to a friend’s place when she sent a phone text saying “I’m being creeped.” The 18-year-old was attacked near an unlit section of railway tracks and later died in hospital of head injuries.
Police also charged Foerster in an attack on a sex-trade worker at the Garden of Eden Escort Agency in downtown Kelowna in April 2005. He’s charged with sexual assault with a weapon and confinement.
He’s also charged in connection with a home invasion in Cherryville in late 2004. He’s accused of wearing a mask when he broke into a 19-year-old woman’s bedroom as she slept. He’s charged with assault causing bodily harm and unlawful confinement.
Police arrested Foerster in Collingwood, Ont., last week.
His father Stephen Roy Foerster, who lives in Cherryville, is charged with obstruction and being an accessory to murder in Taylor’s case. He’s being held at Kamloops jail and appears in court by video today.

Charges laid in Halloween murder of Armstrong teen

 

Charges have been laid against a father and son in the Halloween murder of 18-year-old Taylor Van Diest.

Police held a news conference in Armstrong announcing Matthew Stephen Foerster, 26, a former resident of Cherryville has been charged with second-degree murder in the case. His father, Stephen Roy Foerster, 58, has been charged with obstruction of justice and accessory after the fact in Van Diest's death.

Matthew Foerster has also been charged with one count of sexual assault and unlawful confinement in connection with an April 12, 2005, sexual assault of a Kelowna woman. And additional charges have been laid in connection with a home invasion that took place Oct. 19, 2004, in Cherryville, in which a 19 year old young woman was assaulted.

Both men have been arrested and remain in custody.

 

"Throughout the investigation, we were mindful of the need to provide the immediate community of Armstrong, the Okanagan Region and the general public with as much information that we could in order to address public fear after this disturbing homicide," said Insp. Brendan Fitzpatrick. "We had to strike a balance between what could be said and what was required to absolutely protect and maintain the integrity of the investigation."

The arrest is a substantial relief to the town of Armstrong, where people have been afraid to go outside at night.
Searchers found Van Diest unconscious and badly injured by railway tracks after her family reported her missing Oct. 31. She died in hospital hours later.
Dressed as a zombie, the teen planned to meet a friend to celebrate Halloween. Friends said her last text message was “I’m being creeped.” They believe someone was stalking her as she walked along an unlit section of the tracks and beat her over the head.
Police wouldn’t confirm the text message or the cause of death.
Nine days after the slaying, Armstrong police received a letter from someone who claimed to be the killer and threatened more violence. Police couldn’t determine if the letter was real or a hoax.
As a precaution, RCMP warned people in the North and Central Okanagan to travel in groups and take other precautions.

Police to announce break in Van Diest murder

 

RCMP are expected to identify the man suspected of killing Taylor Van Diest today.
Police are holding a news conference in Armstrong this afternoon to update their investigation into
the 18-year-old woman’s brutal death in Armstrong last Halloween. They’ve been following the suspect since they linked DNA found on her body to the man who sexually attacked a sex trade worker in Kelowna seven years ago.
Rumours have circulated for months that the 26-year-old suspect lived in Cherryville at the time Van Diest was killed. He fled his home shortly before police came knocking. He’s believed to have hidden in Alberta since then.
Investigators have apparently arrested the suspect after collecting cast-off DNA from a cup or a cigarette that matches the two other samples. He’s believed to have graduated from Charles Bloom Secondary school in Lumby in 2004.
An arrest would provide substantial relief to the town of Armstrong, where people have been afraid to go outside at night.
Searchers found Van Diest unconscious and badly injured by railway tracks after her family reported her missing Oct. 31. She died in hospital hours later.
Dressed as a zombie, the teen planned to meet a friend to celebrate Halloween. Friends said her last text message was “I’m being creeped.” They believe someone was stalking her as she walked along an unlit section of the tracks and beat her over the head.
Police wouldn’t confirm the text message or the cause of death.
Nine days after the slaying, Armstrong police received a letter from someone who claimed to be the killer and threatened more violence. Police couldn’t determine if the letter was real or a hoax.
As a precaution, RCMP warned people in the North and Central Okanagan to travel in groups and take other precautions.
The sex worker was attacked at the Garden of Eden Escort Agency in downtown Kelowna in April 2005. The new owner, who gave her name as Lisa, said in November she heard “a girl was attacked” when she bought the agency in 2007, but knew nothing more about the incident. The agency has since upgraded its security and installed panic buttons so women can call for help if violent customers threaten them, Lisa said.
RCMP released a composite drawing of the suspect based on the worker’s description of the 2005 assault.

Monaco proposal rejected by council

By Ron Seymour
The Daily Courier

Plans for two new highrises in downtown Kelowna have been unanimously rejected by city council.
The developer's request for seven variances represented too substantial a departure from the recently-adopted downtown plan, councillors said, and approval could set a precedent for builders of future projects to request similar exemptions.
"If we say yes to this, how do we say no to anything?" Mayor Walter Gray said as a lengthy council meeting concluded just after midnight Tuesday.
The Monaco project would have seen diamond-shaped towers of 22- and 26 storeys built at the northwest corner of Doyle Avenue and St. Paul Street.
"It's just really difficult to imagine two towers of this shape on that site," Coun. Robert Hobson said.
"It is too big for the site," agreed Coun. Mohini Singh.
The separation between the two towers, as well as the project's setback from the nearby Madison building, would have been within the 100 feet required under the downtown plan.
That departure was cited by Coun. Luke Stack as being key for his voting against the Monaco proposal.
"In essence, it would be like a stake through the heart of the downtown
plan before we even give it a chance to succeed," Stack said.
Coun. Gerry Zimmermann said the public wants some sense that the terms of the downtown plan will be enforced by council. "A lot of time and effort went into this plan to put it together," Zimmermann said.
Several councillors expressed the hope the developer would return with plans for a single story highrise on the subject property. Keith Funk,spokesmen for the developer, declined to comment after the meeting.

Suspect arrested in Burtch Road arson

A 47-year-old Kelowna man is in custody after he apparently lit a camper on fire late last night, Kelowna RCMP report.
About 11:30 p.m., emergency crews responded to a suspicious fire on the 2200 block of Burtch Road. A camper on the property was on fire and causing damage to a motorhome parked beside it. The suspect was taken into custody for allegedly starting the blaze. He is set to appear in court later today.
No injuries were reported, and it does not appear that either camper was occupied at the time of the fire.

Ashton not guilty

 

VERNON (CP) — A former Vernon, B.C. teacher was found not guilty Wednesday morning of sexually assaulting a young student.
Forty-seven-year-old Debra Ashton had been accused of five sex-related charges involving the boy, who alleged the sexual encounters began in 2002 when he was 12 years old and in Grade 7.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Alison Beams has ruled there was not enough evidence submitted by the Crown to convict Ashton.
The Crown had argued Ashton had sex with the boy at her home, in her classroom and other places, but the defence argued the boy made up the sexual encounters and was caught in a law.
It was Ashton’s second trial after the first ended in a hung jury.

Westside body identified as missing man

A body found Monday off Elk Road near McDougall Creek in West Kelowna has been identified as that of Andrew Lalonde, who went missing from his home in January.
On Jan. 19, a family member the door to Lalonde's home open and no one inside. His car was left in the driveway and his cellphone was in the home. Lalonde, 30, may have been experiencing psychological difficulties at the time.
 
Foul play is not suspected in the death.

Body found on Westside

A body was recovered near McDougall Creek off of Elk Road in West Kelowna, Monday.
 
Kelowna RCMP spokesman Const. Kris Clark said police received a report of the body near the McDougall Creek bed

at 4:45 a.m. 

Foul play is not suspected, but an autopsy will be conducted this afternoon in an attempt to determine the cause of death and identity of the deceased.
 
Further details may be available upon completion of the autopsy.

Liberals' van Dongen defects to BC Conservatives

 

John van Dongen, MLA for Abbotsford South, has just announced in the legislature that he has resigned from the BC Liberal Party and will be joining the BC Conservative Party. 

Van Dongen has scheduled a press conference  at 3:30 p.m. to expand on his decision.

Missing snowmobilers located

 

UPDATE: The RCMP helicopter has located the two missing snowmobilers, but could not land to make contact. Their co-ordinates were provided to search and rescue personnel, who are with them now. Both are in good condition and will be brought out of the mountains in short order.

Two men are missing after they went snowmobiling in Myra Canyon late Sunday, Kelownaq RCMP say.
Just before midnight, the RCMP received a report of the missing snowmobilers in. The report indicated the two men went into the area on snowmobiles and got stuck.
Contact was initially maintained through text message, but the men's cellphone has since died. Police and search and rescue are attempting to locate the men.
The report indicated the men should be equipped for the weather and an overnight stay, but police have yet to confirm that to be the case.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 26 March 2012 18:14

Page 76 of 82

Latest Poll

Are you in favour of the Kelowna Farmers Market moving downtown?

30.1%
69.9%
Loading...