The final moments of a young woman's life who plummeted from a hang glider over the weekend may have been caught on tape, but her pilot now stands accused of swallowing the evidence.
In an unusual move, police have kept William (Jon) Orders in custody since arresting him Monday on a charge of obstructing justice in connection with the investigation into the 27-year-old's death.
According to media reports, court documents filed in Chilliwack, B.C. allege the 50-year-old from Burnaby gulped down the digital memory card that may contain evidence around how Lenami Godinez-Avila died.
The reports cite the sworn documents submitted by the RCMP and say the media card may have come from an onboard camera that contains video of the fatal flight.
RCMP Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth had previously said Mr. Orders is accused of withholding “key evidence” from investigators.
“We're not going to be providing any further details or commenting further at this point,” Cpl. Hollingsworth said when reached late Tuesday.
“Obviously we don't speak to evidence, and what we have and what we're seeking. ... He's before the courts now.”
Ms. Godinez-Avila was celebrating an anniversary with her boyfriend by taking flight in B.C.’s Fraser Valley on Saturday when she dropped from the glider and fell 300 metres to her death.
Her beau was watching and waiting for his turn when she tumbled free.
Police seized video taken by the boyfriend, and the flight equipment itself, and said they were piecing together the details.
It was Mr. Orders' responsibility to assemble and safety-check the glider, as well as brief his rider on how the tandem flight should unfold.
It was also his role to put the woman in her harness, clip it to the glider and fasten himself in.
The man is fully certified and has been flying and competing for 16 years in Canada and around the world.
After the incident, the safety director for Canada's gliding association spoke to Mr. Orders and heard details of how the man had tried to wrap his legs around Ms. Godinez-Avila to keep her from slipping loose.
“I was more concerned about his well-being and the boyfriend's well-being... I was working on trying to get the pieces together, trying to figure out what happened and all that other stuff,” said Jason Warner, with the Hang Gliders and Paragliding Association of Canada, on Tuesday.
“So when the RCMP have taken a different direction, I'm really trying to figure out what that direction is.”
Mr. Warner wouldn't say whether he had talked to Mr. Orders about the memory card, adding he's scheduled for an interview with police on Wednesday.
He said there are details he's not permitted to release until after the criminal investigation is complete.
But he noted he hopes the charges don't overshadow remembering the victim.
“I mean, oh my God, watching that? And now we're looking at criminal charges, which has totally taken away from the people.”
Mr. Orders is set to appear in Chilliwack provincial court on Wednesday afternoon for a show cause hearing.Report Typo/Error
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