The writer of an anonymous letter claims responsibility for 18-year-old Taylor Van Diest’s Halloween night killing and threatens further violence against women of the northern Okanagan community of Armstrong.
Now police are hoping they can talk that letter writer into contacting them once again.
Mounties held a news conference Thursday urging whoever drafted the letter that arrived at the Armstrong RCMP detachment one day earlier to get in touch with them.
“The letter contains very limited information regarding details of this crime,” RCMP spokesman Corporal Dan Moskaluk said. “As a result we are unable to confirm that the letter was, in fact, written by the perpetrator.”
Cpl. Moskaluk said investigators would like the writer to contact them so they can create a dialogue and prevent further violence.
Police have not disclosed a cause of death for Ms. Van Diest, but friends and family have said she was found severely beaten and unconscious. She later died in hospital.
Residents of the community of 4,500 were already on edge before the letter that threatens future attacks.
Chris Pieper, Armstrong’s mayor, said he’s received several calls from fearful constituents.
“People [are]worried about if this guy is back in town,” he said.
Mr. Pieper said one resident cancelled a Christmas party because of concern about people being out at night.
“You got people scared again,” he said.
Fred Hooper, an Armstrong resident, said the community will remain on alert until someone is arrested.
“People are wondering, I guess, who would perpetrate a crime like that,” he said. “It’s hard to imagine anybody would do that but sadly, these people do exist.”
Cpl. Moskaluk asked the general public to remain vigilant and to take extra safety precautions. He recommended people travel in groups and let friends and family know where they are.
Cpl. Moskaluk wouldn’t disclose exactly what the letter said, or even whether it was handwritten or typed.
“With respect to what it says, word for word, how it was conveyed, its format, its content, its syntax, all those types of things, it’s something that we haven’t disclosed,” he said. “We’re at the first stages of this component of the investigation.”
The RCMP spokesman also declined to discuss how the letter arrived at the RCMP detachment.
“We have to be cautious with what we disclose,” he said.
Cpl. Moskaluk said police had no choice but to inform the public about the threat of future violence.
RCMP have set up a dedicated tip line for any leads related to Ms. Van Diest’s killing.
Police have not identified a suspect in the case. RCMP have said they’ve received more than 125 tips in the case and are preparing for a lengthy investigation.
Mounties currently believe Ms. Van Diest left her home at 5:50 p.m. She walked north on Pleasant Valley Road for 10 minutes until she reached a set of railroad tracks near the 3100 block of Rosedale Avenue.
The last contact Ms. Van Diest made to friends was a 6 p.m. text message. At 7:30 p.m. her cellphone was found near the railroad tracks and RCMP were notified of her disappearance.
With a report from The Canadian Press