A Grande Prairie man charged in the suspicious death of former Kelowna resident Cory McOrmond last year pleaded not guilty Wednesday to all charges.
The McOrmond family may finally get some answers when Norman Timothy Vike, 50, goes on trial in Grande Prairie on Aug. 24.
After his arrest, Vike was charged with criminal negligence causing death, failure to remain at the scene of an accident, possession of property obtained by crime and operating a motor vehicle without an operator's licence, without insurance and without a certificate of registration.
Grande Prairie RCMP and the Edmonton serious crime unit launched an intense investigation after 22-year-old McOrmond was found injured in a parking lot on Aug. 25 and later died in hospital. After an autopsy, the medical examiner notified police that McOrmond did not die of natural causes.
Barb McOrmond, Cory's mother, said investigators told her they received an out-of-town tip that led them to make an arrest five weeks after the suspicious death. She also said police told her the suspect confessed when he was taken to the RCMP detachment, but said it was an accident. Police wouldn't release the specific circumstances of the incident.
About 2 a.m. on Aug. 25, an officer conducting an unrelated traffic stop was alerted by two witnesses to an injured man lying in the parking lot of Prairie Haven Motel, which is in front of Spurs Cookhouse and Dancehall.
McOrmond moved to Grande Prairie in April to start a new job with Trican Well Service. His girlfriend, Tianna Page, moved up in May.
They had selected an engagement ring and McOrmond was waiting for his next paycheque to buy it.
In late August, a friend from Trail went up to see McOrmond for a few days and the two went to the Spurs Cookhouse and Dancehall on the evening of Aug. 24.
The friend was still inside the bar after midnight and started looking for McOrmond.
Concluding he must have walked home, the friend went one block to Cory's house but didn't find him.
"Tianna phoned Cory's cellphone. A nurse at the hospital answered and told her she needed to get there fast," said Barb McOrmond. Two RCMP members and a victim services worker knocked at the man's mother's front door at 8:05 a.m. on Aug. 25 to inform her Cory had died.
As a result of their investigation, police issued a public plea on Aug. 31, saying they wanted to speak with the driver/owner of a red pickup that might have been in the area.
"(Cory) was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said his mother. "For our family and Tianna, it has been tough dealing with everything. Now all we can hope for is justice. We hope for the best."
Cory and his 26-year-old sister, Shanna, were born and raised in Kelowna. Their father, Rocky, worked for Western Star Trucks for 18 years and the family lived in Winfield before the plant closed in 2002. The family moved to Alberta for two years, then Trail.
Cory competed in snowboard and Shanna raced giant slalom with the Nancy Green ski school at Big White Ski Resort. When the family moved to Trail, Red Mountain Resort in Rossland was only a 15-minute drive away, so Cory took up boarder cross, reaching the national level before an ACL tear ended his aspirations.
Cory was selected as an instructor for the Freedom Quest program, launched at Red last season to teach young boys how to snowboard.