Life has been a nightmare for Gerri Cunningham ever since her son bled to death on a downtown Trail street eight months ago following a violent altercation.
“It’s so hard everyday and nothing will make it easier,” Gerri said, her voice cracking as she talked about Cam Cunningham, her 39-year-old deceased son. “I cry every single day and every day I go on Cam’s Facebook and sort of talk to him that way.”
Even more agonizing, Gerri says, is seeing the person who was arrested and released from police custody days later, freely walking around downtown Trail.
“The only thing that would make it easier for me now is justice for Cam,” she said. “Because it’s like he never existed — except to me, and his family.”
Cam Cunningham homicide update
With the Southeast District Major Crime Unit taking the lead on the June 30 homicide of Cam Cunningham, for an update on the investigation, the Trail Times contacted Sgt. Janelle Shoihet, from BC RCMP media relations.
“I have just confirmed with the investigators that the Cunningham homicide remains on-going and active with no charges yet being laid,” Sgt. Shoihet told the Times. “We don’t have a timeline with respect to when this may occur but assure the file remains a priority.”
The senior sergeant emphasized that major case investigations take significant investigation and time to make ready for trial.
“Once a person has been charged it starts the clock as to when that person has to be brought to trial,” she explained.“In order to ensure that the investigation will not be hampered by time restraints, people are often released from custody pending the outcome of the investigation.”
This allows investigators the time they need to gather all evidence, so that when submitted to the BC Prosecution Service for charge assessment there is a substantial likelihood the charges will be approved.
“When investigators submit the information for the charge assessment process, it needs to be ready to go to court and all laboratory analysis, expert reports, digital and forensic evidence all have to have been processed, transcribed, and analyzed,” she said.
“These take time, and we are committed in each case to putting in the time and effort necessary to help support successful prosecution.”
Shoihet said investigators appreciate the public’s continued patience as police work through the investigative process.
“I also want to assure the community that when considering a person’s release, many factors play into making that decision and public safety is always the first priority.”
Unsolved Thomas Feeney homicide
The Trail Times also asked Shoihet for updates regarding two other local homicides that remain open. The first being Thomas Feeney, 75, of Rossland. On June 5, 2014, Feeney was found dead in his Rossland home in what Mounties reported as a violent homicide during a robbery. A number of Feeney’s belongings, including a TV, cross bow and five firearms, were missing from his residence and have not been recovered.
Cause of death is being withheld pending the course of a future trial, however preliminary findings from the ongoing investigation led police to report that this was a random incident or a crime of opportunity against the victim.
Thomas Feeney was born and raised in Rossland.
He was a father, grandfather and great grandfather who loved to hunt and fish and enjoy the outdoors. His family immigrated from Ireland and made Rossland their home for generations.
Unsolved Jordan Workman homicide
The second unsolved case is the murder of Jordan Workman. On Jan. 14, 2018, Jordan Workman was found dead in the trunk of a burnt-out car on the side of Highway 22 just outside of Genelle. Police later revealed the last confirmed sighting of Workman was the evening of Jan. 13 in the Castlegar area. Police also confirmed the car that was abandoned and left ablaze on the side of the road was his 1999 silver Honda Civic.
One year after Workman’s murder, police reported that RCMP investigators suspected the 38-year old was a targeted hit and did not “reflect any increased safety risks to the public.” Jordan left behind his son, parents, two sisters and extended family to mourn his sudden and tragic death.
RCMP: No case is ever cold
Neither of these unsolved murders are classified as cold cases, Sgt. Shoihet told the Times.
“Both cases are still under active investigation and have remained so since the investigations have commenced. When new information is received, investigators are always keen to follow up on the information and determine whether there is more information that can be gleaned from the tip and identify what new investigative avenues may have opened up as a result of that tip.”
For the RCMP, Shoihet said that no case is ever cold.
“There are always ebbs and flows in the incoming tips for every investigation. When that information flow slows, it gives investigators an opportunity to catch their breath, cross the t’s, dot the i’s and deal with other evidentiary avenues, then figure out how best to proceed.”
Most investigators have a full plate of investigations that are running simultaneously and may be awaiting reports, or forensic analysis in one investigation and trying to track down a witness in another.
“There is always work to be done and no one investigation takes precedence over another,” Shoihet continued. “Each investigation is unique and every one is given the time and meticulous investigation it deserves, we know that these are someone’s loved one and each investigation is important.”
It is just the nature of investigations that some take more time than others to gather all the evidence to bring it to a point that it can be presented to the BC Prosecution Service. Only when a case is closed through the court process is it over and concluded, she adds.
“For both Feeney and Workman (cases), we are always seeking new information from the public and encourage anyone with information to provide that to our Southeast District Major Crime Unit tip line.”
The Southeast District tip line is 1.877.987.8477.
Read more: Trail area homicide investigation continues