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

A rendering of the proposed development, called 2020, adjacent to other currently underway projects in the area. (Contributed)
Proposed 46-storey tower dubbed ‘2020’ would be Kelowna’s tallest building

The building was proposed two days after council approved a 42-storey tower on Leon Avenue

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media file)
‘Dangerous situation’ inside busy Kelowna store prompts police presence

27-year-old man apprehended after threatening to harm himself inside store

A concept rendering of the proposed three-tower development at the corner of Leon Avenue and Water Street. (Contributed)
‘Gentrification’ not the answer: Mega-condo won’t fix larger problems, says Kelowna councillor

Letters of support for a three-tower downtown development cited issues with homeless population in the area

Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna Mountie transferred, fined after pointing gun at another officer

Const. Kristine Roesler argued she handled the gun safely and did it in the spirit of ‘dark humour’

The exhibit is set to open on Nov. 13. (File)
UBCO recieves $1.9M for cleantech hub

UBCO campus will help develop and commercialize clean technologies and create up to 50 well-paying jobs

Brett Forsythe battles it out in a game of singles pickleball on ice at Okanagan Training Rink Thursday, Jan. 7 in support of the Vernon Food Bank. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Pickleball play hits the ice in Okanagan

Rivals battle it out in support of the food bank

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials says it will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

City of Salmon Arm Coun. Chad Eliason goes public with the information he went to Mexico over Christmas. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm councillor travels to Mexico over Christmas holiday

Politician says he regrets decision and didn’t consider the ramifications

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

Carol Loiselle filed a discrimination and harassment complaint with the B.C. Humans Right Tribunal in 2018 after working at Windward Software Systems, Inc. in Penticton for eight years. (Google maps photo)
Penticton woman wins part of her B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case

Carol Loiselle alleges she faced years of discrimination, harassment at Windward Software Systems

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Salmon Arm Recreation notified the public of a COVID-19 exposure at the Salmon Arm pool on Jan. 14. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)
COVID-19 exposure reported at Salmon Arm pool

Salmon Arm Recreation became aware of the virus exposure on Jan. 13.

Most Read