The man charged with the Halloween slaying of Armstrong teenager Taylor Van Diest made his first court appearance Tuesday morning.
Matthew Stephen Foerster, 26, appeared calm and stared straight ahead during a brief showing in the Kelowna courtroom, despite the substantial series of charges being read to him.
In addition to second degree murder, he faces charges stemming from an alleged attack at Kelowna’s Garden of Eden escort agency April 12, 2005 and an alleged Cherryville home invasion Oct. 19, 2004.
The former earned him charges of sexual assault with a weapon and unlawful confinement. The latter amounted to charges of break and enter, having face masked during a crime, assault causing bodily harm and unlawful confinement.
Foerster is currently being held in Kelowna cells, but will soon be transferred to Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre.
From there he’ll return to court, via video link, for a May 10 court appearance.
Foerster was arrested in Collingwood Ont. last week after an exhaustive investigation into the murder of the Armstrong teen, who was found fatally wounded Oct. 31, 2011 on train tracks near her home by friends and family. She succumbed to her injuries later that night in Kelowna General Hospital.
The case was one that stunned residents of the small-town, and no suspects immediately came to the fore. The first big break police shared with the public came when DNA from that scene was linked to the earlier crime at the Kelowna escort agency. From there a police sketch that bears a fair resemblance to Foerster was released.
As Mounties began tracking down Foerster, they also found cause to link his father to the alleged crime.
Stephen Roy Foerster, 58, of Cherryville, has been charged with obstruction of justice and accessory after the fact to murder in connection with Van Diest’s death. He was arrested in his residence last Wednesday and will appear in a Vernon courtroom tomorrow.
Meantime, police are continuing in their efforts to establish a timeline of Matthew Foerster’s activities on the day and night of Van Diest’s murder, Oct. 31, 2011.
“We would like to hear from anyone who has not already spoken to investigators that now may have information about any contact they had with him on Halloween night,” said Insp. Brendan Fitzpatrick, operations officer for the B.C. RCMP’s major crime section.
“With the release of his photo, we would like to hear from any other witnesses who may have information regarding that night.”
Police also want to establish a timeline of Foerster’s travels and activities from Dec. 2011 to the end of March 2012.
Fitzpatrick asks that anybody who has information to share should call the dedicated tip line at 1-888-688-4264.