DNA taken from fingernails

Formal admissions put forth during Matthew Foerster’s first-degree murder trial on Tuesday, acknowledge that he caused the injuries which ultimately led to the death of Armstrong teen Taylor Van Diest, on Halloween night 2011.

Crown prosecutor Iain Currie read the admissions first thing Tuesday morning, and Supreme Court Justice Peter Rogers explained to the jury that these are now facts and no longer need to be proven by counsel.

Later on, the court heard more formal admissions – that Foerster’s DNA had been found under Taylor’s fingernails and that her DNA had been found in a truck owned by Foerster at the time of her death.

The black 1999 Ford F-150 had been sold by Foerster to another man, but RCMP were able to get permission to search the truck in April 2012.

Trevor Cook with the Vernon RCMP's Forensic ID section told the court he found nine stains in the truck. At the scene of the crime he said he found red staining consistent with blood on leaves, trees, debris and the ballast rock of the train tracks near where Van Diest was found.

He went through 55 photographs and several minutes of video detailing the scene. He also talked about a large metal pipe he says was discovered where Van Diest was found laying during Monday’s testimony.

During cross-examination by defence counsel Lisa Helps, Cook told the court he was present at the autopsy and used a mini-crimescope to search for bodily fluids, but found none. He also acknowledged that no handprints or significant boot prints were found at the scene, but said that could have been due to the rough terrain.

The court also heard from Cook's partner, Cpl. Ronald Scholes who said blood was found on the neck and sleeve of a jacket at the scene. He also noted a small bottle of vodka was found Nov. 2, but no prints were ever recovered.

Helps took special interest in the bottle, which was not found during the initial search, even though it was only 25 feet from where Taylor was discovered. Testimony from Cst. Matthew Catton showed the area was taped off in three separate locations, with 24-hour guards at the scene. The bottle was logged into evidence and moved multiple times around the Armstrong detachment, but was never forensically tested until this past week when the evidence bag was opened in front of both Helps and Currie.

The trial continues today (Wednesday).

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