In the last three weeks, the Central Okanagan has seen three cases where women appear to have been brutally attacked, one killed, with little information on the perpetrator or perpetrators responsible.
If it seems like there is a single unknown predator targeting women, however, police can say it’s highly unlikely.
“I would say there’s no connection (between the cases),” said Const. Kris Clark, Kelowna RCMP, when contacted Monday morning.
As to whether women in the Glenmore area in particular should be on high alert given the murder of Theresa Ashley Neville, 27, in her home in the early hours of last Tuesday, the police can do little to calm fear within the community.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have any information for either side of that equation. Should women be on alert if they’re out alone? Always. Whether or not, due to this particular investigation, they should be any more cautious, unfortunately, I don’t have anything to allay fears,” said Clark.
Neighbours speaking to media have indicated Neville lived with her partner and two daughters and one media outlet has reported the girls were from a previous relationship with a possible breakup in Neville’s very recent history.
On Saturday afternoon, investigators released a police sketch of a person of interest described as slight, with prominent cheek bones and a dark or olive complexion that might make him of aboriginal ancestry.
He is not said to be the murder suspect.
“This is simply someone that we’re looking to speak with. They were seen in the area of the house that night and they are essentially a potential witness who may have information crucial to the investigation,” said Clark.
No one interviewed by news media over the course of the last week has indicated they saw anything that evening.
Clark could not say who provided the description of this person of interest; although it is known Neville’s daughters, aged eight and 10, were found in the home unharmed, and that the call for assistance came from inside the house.
A team of investigators are also actively working the Mission Creek Regional Park sexual assault, with a thick stream of notes on file already. Police cannot release a description of the assailant in the case because the victim “appears to have been prevented from seeing her attacker,” Clark said.
What is known is that she was hit over the head in broad daylight, dragging into the bushes and attacked. Information on whether the ensuing sexual assault would be classified as a rape has not been released, however, it has been categorized as a serious incident.
The mysterious assault which is alleged to have occurred in Glenrosa days later, remains unconfirmed.
A 17-year-old girl was reported to have been assaulted on a well-used trail beside Glenrosa Middle School, but the case has never materialized beyond that point.
RCMP never released a statement, simply confirming they did receive a report and did launch an investigation. Two weeks later, it is still listed as an unconfirmed event.