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Penticton  

3. Unsolved homicides

Colton Davies

Castanet Penticton is counting down the five biggest stories of 2017. They are being determined by a combination of web-traffic, public interest and overall impact on the South Okanagan.

3) Four South Okanagan homicides have gone unsolved in 2017.

The first homicide investigation opened on Jan. 17, when the body of 27-year-old Dean Jefferey Gillette was found dumped beside Willowbrook Road in Kaleden.

Police later revealed that Gillette, a Kelowna man, died of a gunshot wound.

Investigators believe the murder was targeted, and confirmed they were looking into a possible link to a suspicious truck fire in the area that morning.

Police have not released any information on this file since Jan. 26.

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Gunfire rang out Apr. 26, 10:30 at an apartment complex at 998 Creston Ave.

Witnesses told Castanet they heard banging on doors, and shouting; “I know you are in there,” before a gunshot and screams.

The victim stumbled down into the parking lot and died while neighbours tried to help him.

"I've been threatened here with a knife, and I don't associate with anybody, but I've been in danger in this apartment complex, myself. This is a very bad, very negative complex to live in,” Christian Klausen said, adding drug dealers frequented the building.

Immediately following the shooting police announced they had a suspect in custody. However, he was released without charge the following day. At the time, police did not rule out that charges could be laid in the future.

The RCMP never released the identity of the victim, but Castanet learned it was 52-year-old Randall Toews.

Toews has a lengthy and violent criminal record, but was trying to get treatment for alcohol abuse.

Police have said nothing about the file since April.

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The third homicide occurred inside a home on Woodlands Drive on June 12, shocking neighbours of the quiet neighbourhood.

Police were called to the home just before 5 a.m. for a sudden death, finding a deceased male “victim of an apparent homicide.”

RCMP again said they had a person in custody immediately after the homicide, but again, released her without charge.

The victim was identified by friends as 63-year-old Dale Atkinson, a well known and respected car salesmen.

“He was a real good guy, happy, jovial and quite a normal fellow. I don’t know what could have led to such a tragic event,” said Andrew Werner, a friend who had known Atkinson for “40-odd years.”

Neighbours described Atkinson and his common-law wife as a quiet couple that would keep to themselves.

Police have said very little about the incident beyond confirming a man died in the home of an “apparent homicide.”

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Penticton RCMP Supt. Ted De Jager unveiled a previously undisclosed homicide investigation to Castanet News on Dec. 21, in response to questions about the previous three murders.

However, beyond the fact that the homicide has occurred, the detachment has steadfastly refused to release any details about the date, victim or cause-of-death. De Jager would only state that the homicide occurred “earlier this year,” adding “the integrity of the investigation outweighs the need to notify the public of the particulars.”

In the case of the other three homicides, De Jager says they are all still under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact RCMP.



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