2. Mysterious death

Chantelle Deacon

The No. 2 story on Castanet Vernon's 2018 top 10 list was the confusing death of a 37-year-old woman found in a home in an upscale Vernon neighbourhood.

Little information was ever released after Heather Barker was found unresponsive in her Vernon home near The Rise Golf Course in March.

Barker died later in hospital and police released a press release stating they were investigating for foul play.

The woman apparently lived in the house with her boyfriend at the time.

The story unfolded when a Castanet reporter noticed police officers parked outside of the Cordon Place home for multiple days.

Castanet initially spoke with neighbours who were concerned for the woman who lived in the home.

They told Castanet that loud altercations were often heard coming from the house.

More neighbours and construction workers in the area spoke with Castanet, releasing alarming information.

"A few days prior [to the incident] she came out onto the deck in a bathrobe and yelled something," said Jacob Sparling, a nearby homebuilder who was clearly shaken by the incident.

A neighbour spoke with Castanet but he said he didn't know the couple personally.

"They [police] came knocking at the [my] door I'd say a little more than a week ago and asked me if I knew the people next door," said Brian Lasalle, next door neighbour. "I said, 'we just see them coming and going, not really."

Lasalle says police specifically asked about the woman from next door and they were clearly concerned for her safety.

"He [the man next door] was pretty strange," Lasalle said. "Coming down the street pulling donuts in the cul-de-sac is kind of a no-no, we have children in the neighbourhood."

Police officers were seen by neighbours and a Castanet reporter hauling multiple boxes out of the home while wearing plastic gloves.

The incident caused confusion throughout the city of Vernon and the public wasn't left with any official answers.

The Vernon RCMP General Investigative Section took the lead on the case and police stated there was no risk to the public.

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