The three men charged with murder in connection with the death of a 20-year-old Alberta man north of Hope all knew their alleged victim, Integrated Homicide Investigation Team Cpl. Frank Jang said at a news conference Monday.
Michael Bonin’s body was found by a passerby on Peers Creek Forest Service Road north of Hope at approximately 7:30 a.m. on April 20, 2017.
Jang said that Bonin’s body “had not been there” long before it was discovered.
Ryan Watt, 26, of Vancouver, Joshua Fleurant, 20 of Prince George, and Jared Jorgenson, 27, of Dawson Creek have all been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Bonin’s death.
“All the parties involved knew each other to varying degrees,” said Jang.
“The individuals involved in this investigation are known and some of them do have criminal records.”
Bonin’s criminal history includes an assault conviction and Fleurant and Bonin were both charged in relation to the same car theft.
Police believe the attack was not random but Jang declined to share any details as the case is now before the courts.
All three accused are scheduled to make their first appearances in provincial court on Monday.
“We are hopeful that this can now help the family of Mr. Bonin begin their journey towards the healing process,” Jang said.
Bonin was identified as being from Rycroft, Alta.
Police released a letter from the victim’s mother – withholding her name – in which she thanked investigators for their work on Bonin’s case, adding the pain of losing her son will never go away.
“Michael did not deserve to die. He was a loving, helpful and loyal young man who had lots to live for. The pain of losing Michael will never go away and many lives have been changed by this selfish act,” she stated.
“I hope those responsible for taking Michael’s life are held accountable.”
The mother’s name was withheld.
IHIT is asking anyone with information about the murder to contact the IHIT information line at 1-877-551-4448, by email at email@example.com or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.