Williams Lake RCMP were searching the Rudy Johnson Bridge area by air, land and water Tuesday for any sign of missing man Branton Regner. Monica Lamb Yorski photo

RCMP probe link between homicide, missing persons case in Williams Lake

Rich ‘Savage’ Duncan the victim of Aug. 6 homicide in Williams Lake

One man is dead, another is missing and a third is in custody charged with two counts of attempted murder following a series of violent events that occurred in and around Williams Lake last week.

With preliminary factors suggesting the crimes are connected, Williams Lake RCMP Insp. Jeff Pelley said Tuesday there are “a lot of moving parts to these investigations.”

On Tuesday, Aug. 6 at about 12:45 a.m. RCMP responded to a call of shots fired in the 1100 block of Mackenzie Avenue North. Upon arrival they discovered 43-year-old man suffering from gun shot wounds who later died in hospital from his injuries.

A funeral service for Richard Irvine James Duncan Jr., known by many as ‘Savage,’ is being held this Saturday at the Ulkatcho Church. Richard was from the communities of Ulkatcho and Canoe Creek. His family who is grieving his loss said they knew him as a kind person who had a travelling spirit.

No one has been charged in connection with his death.

READ MORE: RCMP investigating early morning homicide in Williams Lake

Three days later on Friday, Aug. 9 police received a complaint of an incident at the Rudy Johnson Bridge, said Pelley.

The bridge remained closed for several hours while police could be seen searching on the bridge and above the bridge on top of the river embankments as motorists were being turned around with little information. Central Cariboo Search and Rescue arrived at about 4 p.m. to assist.

As officers were on scene at the Rudy Johnson Bridge, Pelley said a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle in the homicide from Aug. 6 was observed on Highway 97.

Following a brief police chase the vehicle was prevented from leaving near Airport Road.

Three people were taken into custody.

Jayson Gilbert, 25, was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted murder in relation to the incident at the Rudy Johnson Bridge, Pelley said. The other two people in the vehicle were released pending further investigation.

On Saturday, when police announced the attempted murder charges, they also said the investigation includes a missing persons aspect.

Branton Regner has not been seen since August 9, 2019 following the incident on the Rudy Johnson Bridge.

Regner is described as a Caucasian male, five-foot-11-inches tall, about 160 pounds with blue eyes and short brown hair and a fair complexion.

Regner is known to have previously lived in Quesnel and is originally from Dawson Creek.

The RCMP would like to speak to anyone who may have information on the activities of Regner in the recent past, specifically Aug. 2, 2019 to Aug. 9, 2019.

ALSO READ: Police release image of man missing after Rudy Johnson bridge incident and alleged attempted murder

Pelley confirmed Tuesday Aug. 12 that RCMP were actively searching the Rudy Johnson Bridge area by air, land and water for any signs of Regner. He acknowledged that foul play was a possibility in Regner’s disappearance.

Once best known for how it was built, the Rudy Johnson Bridge has also been known in recent years for more ominous reasons with at least one victim being thrown from the bridge in what is considered gang-related activity.

Pelley wouldn’t confirm whether this latest spike in criminal activity in the region is related to gang violence, however, he did note they are investigating all avenues and have the assistance of the North District and the E Division Major Crime Unit, as well as local units working on the case.

In Williams Lake Provincial Court Tuesday, Gilbert appeared by video from the police cells across the street.

Several family members were on hand for the court proceedings where Gilbert conceded to being remanded into custody until his next court appearance Aug. 28.

Crown asked for a no contact list containing the names of several people Crown alleges are witnesses and potential co-accused in the matter.

In reaction to the crimes, Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb said it certainly is concerning.

The RCMP, he added, are doing the best they can to curtail crime with the integrated crime unit and they cannot jeopardize the investigation by releasing too many details.

“They have to be very careful,” he said. “All they have let out is that the one at the Rudy Johnson Bridge and the one in town are connected somehow.”

Cobb said the 1100 block of Mackenzie Avenue North area of Williams Lake is a ‘consistent problem,’ and has been for years.

“If I ever get a phone call about something that’s going wrong, it’s usually in that area. I don’t know who owns them, but I do know there was a resident who lived a block further up who recently passed away that continually phoned and told me about incidents and things that were happening in the area.”

He urged the public to be forthcoming with any information they have that might help the RCMP.

“It is very frustrating,” he added. “The police cannot do it on their own, their eyes cannot be everywhere. We have to start taking responsibility for some of our actions if we are noticing things and not reporting them. Sometimes the slightest thing can be a tip that stops something else from happening.”

If you have any information you are asked to call the Williams Lake RCMP at 250 392-6211.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Leafs beat Nitehawks for 8th straight win

The win gives Nelson a provisional division lead

Castlegar march ensures missing, murdered aboriginal women not forgotten

About 60 people took part in the Valentine’s day memorial

Jenner scored 2 in debut as Leafs beat Thunder Cats

Nelson is on a seven-game winning streak

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read