Williams Lake RCMP were searching the Rudy Johnson Bridge area by air, land and water Tuesday for any sign of missing man Branton Regner. Monica Lamb Yorski photo

Williams Lake RCMP were searching the Rudy Johnson Bridge area by air, land and water Tuesday for any sign of missing man Branton Regner. Monica Lamb Yorski photo

RCMP probe link between homicide, missing persons case in Williams Lake

Rich ‘Savage’ Duncan the victim of Aug. 6 homicide in Williams Lake

One man is dead, another is missing and a third is in custody charged with two counts of attempted murder following a series of violent events that occurred in and around Williams Lake last week.

With preliminary factors suggesting the crimes are connected, Williams Lake RCMP Insp. Jeff Pelley said Tuesday there are “a lot of moving parts to these investigations.”

On Tuesday, Aug. 6 at about 12:45 a.m. RCMP responded to a call of shots fired in the 1100 block of Mackenzie Avenue North. Upon arrival they discovered 43-year-old man suffering from gun shot wounds who later died in hospital from his injuries.

A funeral service for Richard Irvine James Duncan Jr., known by many as ‘Savage,’ is being held this Saturday at the Ulkatcho Church. Richard was from the communities of Ulkatcho and Canoe Creek. His family who is grieving his loss said they knew him as a kind person who had a travelling spirit.

No one has been charged in connection with his death.

READ MORE: RCMP investigating early morning homicide in Williams Lake

Three days later on Friday, Aug. 9 police received a complaint of an incident at the Rudy Johnson Bridge, said Pelley.

The bridge remained closed for several hours while police could be seen searching on the bridge and above the bridge on top of the river embankments as motorists were being turned around with little information. Central Cariboo Search and Rescue arrived at about 4 p.m. to assist.

As officers were on scene at the Rudy Johnson Bridge, Pelley said a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle in the homicide from Aug. 6 was observed on Highway 97.

Following a brief police chase the vehicle was prevented from leaving near Airport Road.

Three people were taken into custody.

Jayson Gilbert, 25, was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted murder in relation to the incident at the Rudy Johnson Bridge, Pelley said. The other two people in the vehicle were released pending further investigation.

On Saturday, when police announced the attempted murder charges, they also said the investigation includes a missing persons aspect.

Branton Regner has not been seen since August 9, 2019 following the incident on the Rudy Johnson Bridge.

Regner is described as a Caucasian male, five-foot-11-inches tall, about 160 pounds with blue eyes and short brown hair and a fair complexion.

Regner is known to have previously lived in Quesnel and is originally from Dawson Creek.

The RCMP would like to speak to anyone who may have information on the activities of Regner in the recent past, specifically Aug. 2, 2019 to Aug. 9, 2019.

ALSO READ: Police release image of man missing after Rudy Johnson bridge incident and alleged attempted murder

Pelley confirmed Tuesday Aug. 12 that RCMP were actively searching the Rudy Johnson Bridge area by air, land and water for any signs of Regner. He acknowledged that foul play was a possibility in Regner’s disappearance.

Once best known for how it was built, the Rudy Johnson Bridge has also been known in recent years for more ominous reasons with at least one victim being thrown from the bridge in what is considered gang-related activity.

Pelley wouldn’t confirm whether this latest spike in criminal activity in the region is related to gang violence, however, he did note they are investigating all avenues and have the assistance of the North District and the E Division Major Crime Unit, as well as local units working on the case.

In Williams Lake Provincial Court Tuesday, Gilbert appeared by video from the police cells across the street.

Several family members were on hand for the court proceedings where Gilbert conceded to being remanded into custody until his next court appearance Aug. 28.

Crown asked for a no contact list containing the names of several people Crown alleges are witnesses and potential co-accused in the matter.

In reaction to the crimes, Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb said it certainly is concerning.

The RCMP, he added, are doing the best they can to curtail crime with the integrated crime unit and they cannot jeopardize the investigation by releasing too many details.

“They have to be very careful,” he said. “All they have let out is that the one at the Rudy Johnson Bridge and the one in town are connected somehow.”

Cobb said the 1100 block of Mackenzie Avenue North area of Williams Lake is a ‘consistent problem,’ and has been for years.

“If I ever get a phone call about something that’s going wrong, it’s usually in that area. I don’t know who owns them, but I do know there was a resident who lived a block further up who recently passed away that continually phoned and told me about incidents and things that were happening in the area.”

He urged the public to be forthcoming with any information they have that might help the RCMP.

“It is very frustrating,” he added. “The police cannot do it on their own, their eyes cannot be everywhere. We have to start taking responsibility for some of our actions if we are noticing things and not reporting them. Sometimes the slightest thing can be a tip that stops something else from happening.”

If you have any information you are asked to call the Williams Lake RCMP at 250 392-6211.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

RCMP probe link between homicide, missing persons case in Williams Lake

Just Posted

Island Health has confirmed the first long term care facility outbreak in Greater Victoria at Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich. (Google Maps)
Island Health records first long-term care COVID outbreak in Greater Victoria

Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich confirms one positive staff member

Itty, a Siamese cat, has been missing since a house fire in Victoria’s Fernwood neighbourhood on Friday, Nov. 27. Her owner says she has white fur with blonde and grey markings. (Facebook/ROAM)
Cat goes missing after house fire in Fernwood neighbourhood

‘Itty’ has white fur, blonde and grey markings and blue eyes

The Saanich Fire Department Station #2 C-Battalion members (left to right) firefighter Clayton Tilon, firefighter Bonnie Fiala, firefighter Zay Hamilton, Capt. Dawrin Schellenberg and firefighter Charlie Rivers show off their BC Emergency Health Servicecs Vital Link Award. (Photo courtesy Darwin Schellenberg)
Saanich firefighters receive Vital Link Award from paramedics for life-saving CPR

Award issued to C-Battalion, civilian for help saving cardiac arrest patient in June

An aerial view over Oak Bay. (Black Press Media File Photo)
An aerial view over Oak Bay and the Marina. Oak Bay residents pay the highest taxes on Vancouver Island. Don Denton/Black Press
Oak Bay secondary suites study considers units old and new

Secondary suites draft report due in new year

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Most Read