A suspicious death on Monday in the Lower Mission has been deemed a homicide by the Kelowna RCMP but a suspect arrested shortly afterwards remains out of police custody subject to no conditions.
Mounties were called to a residence in the 600-block of Bechard Road just before 7 a.m. on Oct. 18, where investigators located a man’s body. According to police, a 54-year-old woman was arrested at the scene but was released the next day without charge. She was then apprehended again under the Mental Health Act and taken to Kelowna General Hospital.
During a press conference on Oct. 21, Supt. Kara Triance said the RCMP recommended a first-degree murder charge to the BC Prosecution Service but it was not approved based on the initial evidence sent. Officers are now compiling a full disclosure package that will contain further findings, with completion anticipated in three weeks.
The case is “a matter of intimate partner violence,” Triance said, and that the man and the woman were living in the house together. Neither of the two was known to police prior to the incident.
Triance did not comment on the woman’s health or if she remains at the hospital but did confirm that she is not in police custody and will be left at large until charges are laid.
“It’s the job of the police to ensure public safety… and my officers are responding to these calls for service, I have grave concerns about the limitations of our systems and the policies and directives under which we must operate within,” she said.
“So often, it is the systems that we are caught between and the police are left between the health care system which is burdened by the constraints it has and the justice system where there are a lot of restrictions and increasingly closed doors of remand centres that are full, and policies and directives that I believe are important and modernizing our justice system but leaving individuals at large in our community.”
Black Press Media spoke to some neighbourhood residents, all of whom were shocked by the police-lined street in their quiet neighbourhood on Monday morning. One neighbour said they believed the house was being partially rented out.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with further information at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 21 following a Kelowna RCMP press conference.