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Vernon  

Van Diest murder arrest

Two men have been arrested in connection with the Taylor Van Diest murder case. The 18-year-old was killed on Halloween night in Armstrong.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, the RCMP announced that Matthew Stephen Foerster and his father, Stephen Roy Foerster were both arrested.

Matthew Foerster is facing a charge of Second Degree Murder. 

He will also face charges of Sexual Assault and Unlawful Confinement in connection with a sexual assault of a Kelowna woman employed at the Garden of Eden escort service on April 12, 2005.

The 26 year-old Foerster is also charged with Possession of a Break-in Instrument, Break and Enter into a Dwelling to Commit an Indictable Offense and Assault with a Weapon laid in relation to a home invasion October 19, 2004 in which a 19 year old Cherryville woman was assaulted.

The Stephen Roy Foerster is being charged with Obstruction of Justice and Accessory after the fact to Murder in connection with the killing of Van Diest.

Taylor's mother Marie Van Diest accompanied by Taylor's twin sister Kirstie, read from a prepared statement in which she offered her thanks to the community for its support.

"I would like to thank everybody who supported us with their generosity, kindness and just any way they helped," says Van Diest.

"Today is a day filled with mixed emotions. We finally can direct our anger at a face. Now I know what evil looks like. We would like to express a heartfelt thank you and eternal gratitude to the RCMP and the whole team of investigators for their perseverance and dogged determination in arresting the person responsible for Taylor's death. We hoped and prayed that this day would come, and now that it's here, perhaps we can all begin the slow healing process."

Marie's brother and Taylor's Uncle, Paul Albert, also spoke Thursday afternoon.

"I would like to say thank you as well to the community. We certainly can't say enough about the RCMP," said Albert, choking back tears.
 

Here is the press release issued by the RCMP on Thursday April 5.


Multiple charges have been laid in a series of investigations that included the tragic death of 18 year old Taylor Van Diest on October 31, 2011.

The RCMP Southeast District Major Crimes Unit and Armstrong RCMP, police confirmed on Thursday April 5th that two individuals have been arrested in connection with murder of Taylor Van Diest and two other incidents that occurred in 2004 and 2005.

“Today’s announcement is a result of the thousands of investigative man hours, thousands of tips and extensive forensic analysis and specialized investigative techniques and avenues,” said Insp. Brendan Fitzpatrick, Operations Officer for the RCMP’s BC Major Crime Section.

 

26 year old Matthew Stephen Foerster, a former resident of Cherryville, BC has been charged with one count of 2nd degree murder for the October 31st death of Taylor Van Diest. He has also been charged with one count of sexual assault and unlawful confinement in connection with the April 12, 2005 sexual assault of a Kelowna woman. 

Additional charges have been laid in connection with a home invasion that took place October 19, 2004 in Cherryville BC, in which a 19 year old young woman was assaulted.

Shortly before 11:00 am (PST) on Wednesday April 4th, BC RCMP, Southeast District Major Crimes Unit arrested Matthew Stephen Foerster, on a Canada wide warrant, at a motel in Collingwood, Ontario. 

The BC RCMP officers were assisted by investigators from the Collingwood O.P.P. and Ontario RCMP. The arrest was completed without incident and efforts are underway to transport him back to BC to answer to the charges.

58 year old Stephen Roy Foerster, Matthew’s father and a current resident of Cherryville, BC has been charged with Obstruction of Justice and Accessory After the Fact to murder in connection with the homicide death of Taylor Van Diest. He was arrested without incident at his residence around 2:20 pm (PST) on Wednesday April 4th.

“Our Southeast District Major Crime Unit took the lead on this investigation, they utilized resources from our local detachment, E Division Major Crime Section, partner agencies and many other RCMP support services to identify the suspect and bring this case before the court”, said Supt. Reg Burgess, the Officer in Charge of Vernon/North Okanagan Detachment. “Although the investigation was a multifaceted joint effort, it is the leaders and teams on our Southeast District Major Crime Unit who coordinated the efforts and worked this case hard to obtain the success we have to date”.

“While the work done by the investigators cannot be overstated, I must also recognize the high degree of support and assistance received from the public and the media at large,” said Insp. Brendan Fitzpatrick. “The combined efforts stand as a prime example of the effectiveness of the public and media working together with police”.

While arrests have been made, the investigation is ongoing. Investigators are continuing their efforts to establish a detailed time line of Matthew Foerster’s activities on the day and night of Taylor’s murder on October 31st, 2011 and his travel and activities from December 2011 to March 2012.

Statement issued by Insp. Brendan Fitzpatrick, Operations Officer for "E" Division Major Crime Section.

Good afternoon. My name is Insp. Brendan Fitzpatrick and I am the Operations Officer for the RCMP “E” Division Major Crime Section.

I am here today to announce significant progress has been made in the October 31st, 2011 homicide investigation of 18 year old Taylor Van Diest. Taylor was murdered while walking to meet friends in preparation to celebrate Halloween.

On behalf of the RCMP Southeast District Major Crimes Unit and Armstrong RCMP – I can confirm two individuals have been arrested in connection with the murder of Taylor Van Diest.

Today’s announcement is a result of thousands of investigative man hours, thousands of tips, and extensive forensic analysis and specialized investigative techniques and avenues.

The tireless and dedicated efforts of the RCMP officers, laboratory scientists, ViCLAS analysts, Behavioural Profilers, support staff and that of other police agencies that assisted the Southeast District Major Crime Unit, was evident during the careful handling and timely follow up of approximately 1250 tips that came in from the public. These tips generated a significant amount of information that had to be checked, verified, expanded and even eliminated. As you will learn, the investigation reached across the country and involved multiple different agencies.

Throughout the investigation, we were mindful of the need to provide the immediate community of Armstrong, the Okanagan Region and the general public with as much information that we could in order to address public fear after this disturbing homicide. We had to strike a balance between what could be said and what was required to absolutely protect and maintain the integrity of the investigation. The extraordinary step of releasing of a composite sketch based on information from a 2005 Kelowna Sexual Assault investigation and linking DNA evidence was disclosed publically.

Police efforts aided by the accumulated public information paid off. On Tuesday April 3rd, investigators obtained warrants for the arrest of Matthew Stephen Foerster and his father Stephen Roy Foerster in connection with Taylor’s murder.

Matthew Stephen Foerster, 26 yrs old and a former resident of Cherryville BC, is facing a charge of 2nd degree murder for the October 31st death of Taylor Van Diest. He has also been charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of unlawful confinement in connection with the April 12, 2005 sexual assault of a Kelowna woman employed at the Garden of Eden Escort Service in Kelowna. Additional charges of possession of a break in instrument, break and enter into a dwelling house to commit an indictable offence and assault with a weapon have been laid in relation to a home invasion that took place October 19, 2004 in Cherryville BC. In that case a young, 19 year old woman was seriously assaulted.

Shortly before 2pm EST or 11 am PST on Wednesday April 4th, BC RCMP, investigators from the Southeast District Major Crime Unit, on the strength of a Canada Wide Warrant, arrested Matthew Stephen Foerster at a motel in Collingwood, Ontario. The BC RCMP officers were assisted by investigators from the Collingwood Detachment of Ontario Provincial Police and RCMP “O” Division or Ontario RCMP. The arrest was completed without incident. Efforts are underway to transport him back to BC to answer to the charges.

58 year old Stephen Roy Foerster, a current resident of Cherryville, BC has been charged with Obstruction of Justice and Accessory After the Fact to murder in connection with the homicide death of Taylor Van Diest.

Around 2:20 pm PST on Wednesday April 4th. BC RCMP investigators from the Southeast District Major Crimes Unit assisted by members of the Lumby/North Okanagan Vernon Detachment arrested Stephen Roy Foerster at his residence in Cherryville BC.

Both remain in police custody at this time.

While the work done by the investigators cannot be overstated, I must also recognize the high degree of support and assistance received from the public and the media at large. The combined efforts stand as a prime example of the effectiveness of the public and media working together with police.

While arrests have been made, the investigation is ongoing. Much work and investigation remains to be done. We are extending our request for assistance from the public and the media today in uncovering more information.

Investigators are continuing their efforts to establish a detailed time line of Matthew Foerster’s activities on the day and night of Taylor’s murder on October 31st, 2011

We would like to hear from anyone who has not already spoken to investigators that now, with the release of today’s information on his arrest may have information about any contact they had with him on Halloween night. Again with a release of his photo today we would like to hear from any other witnesses who may have information regarding that night.

We also would like to establish a time line of his travels and activities from December 2011 up to the end of March 2012.

We are releasing a photo today of Matthew Stephen Foerster in order to advance this investigation and in an effort to determine whether there are any other offenses that need further review. Please call the specially created tip line established for this investigation. The number is 1-888-688-4264.

Video: Relief and anger in Armstrong following arrests of father-son murder suspects in connection with 2011 Halloween Taylor Van Diest killing. Castanet's Kelly Hayes reports.

Video of RCMP news conference announcing the arrests (Video-Kelly Hayes)



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