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Police close to recreating slain girl's last hours

More than 30 officers are working to solve the killing of 18-year-old Taylor Van Diest.


Police are close to establishing a timeline that will track the movements made by Taylor Van Diest on the afternoon leading up to a fatal attack on the Armstrong teen.

Earlier this week, RCMP placed the last known whereabouts of Ms. Van Diest at her home in the 2300 block of Pleasant Valley Road around midday. It was there that she is believed to have prepared for Halloween, painting her face and dressing as a zombie.

Hours later, family and friends found Ms. Van Diest severely injured and unconscious near a set of railway tracks one kilometre from her home in the quiet agricultural community in the North Okanagan.

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"They are getting very, very close [to knowing]everything within that timeline," said Vernon/North Okanagan RCMP spokesman Gordon Molendyk.

On Thursday, police released a photo of Ms. Van Diest dressed in her Halloween costume and another of the tan-coloured jacket she was wearing that day.

Mr. Molendyk asked anyone who had contact with Ms. Van Diest that afternoon to come forward with information.

"Even though you think it's small, allow us to decide the relevance of it," Mr. Molendyk said, noting that clues found in texts, photos and on social media could all help with the investigation.

Ms. Van Diest's best friend, Zoë Unruh, and Kirstie Van Diest, the twin sister of Taylor, started a Facebook memorial page on Wednesday, titled: Taylor Jade Van Diest; Rest in Paradise.

An earlier memorial page had been set up by an unidentified person who is not believed to have known Ms. Van Diest, and who quickly angered friends.

"None of us minded that it was a stranger, we minded that he was censoring her closest friends and family," wrote Ms. Unruh, who was reached for comment on Facebook. "He said he was serving god and starting rambling on with quotes from the Bible … People like that, with absolutely no regard for how they affect other people, scare me."

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The page had been taken down by mid-afternoon Thursday.

Friends quickly took to the site to express their sadness.

"I woke up this morning around eleven thinking of you and how you would still be sleeping," wrote Jennifer Lynn Stevens Thursday. "I went to text you something crazy to annoy you … I know how much you love being woken up … and then I remembered you were gone."

Amanda Fouquet wrote that Ms. Van Diest was "an amazing girl, with a personality just streaming with color … you and your family didn't deserve this kind of pain. Love you forever and always."

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