The RCMP say what originally looked like a fatal traffic crash in West Kelowna Monday night is actually a double murder.
The RCMP Southeast District Major Crimes Unit and the West Kelowna RCMP are currently investigating the death of two individuals who were found late Monday evening in a crashed SUV inside Terravita condominium complex.
Police responded around 11 p.m. Monday to a report of a single vehicle collision at Terravita, just off Auburn Road. Upon arrival, officers located a black SUV, which had driven into a parking lot entrance light standard.
Two individuals were found dead inside the vehicle. A scene examination determined the deaths were not a result of the collision; rather, due to homicide.
Witnesses said a man was seen fleeing from the vehicle. A Police Service Dog was deployed shortly after initial police arrival and followed a lengthy possible suspect track for several kilometres.
Police believe the suspect left the scene down a walking trail onto Bentley and Daimler Roads, in a southwest direction through the residential area.
The track was followed to Bylands Road, across Highway 97 and ended in the Ross Road area in the vicinity of the Mount Boucherie Complex.
Investigators are not releasing any further details of the deceased at this time.
Malcolm Yarborough has been a resident at Terravita for 15 months.
He said he heard “a little noise” before he went to bed at midnight, but had no reason to think anything was wrong.
“I was very surprised to hear about it,” said Yarborough.
“This is an upscale, top of the line complex…I wouldn’t have expected this kind of thing to happen right here.”
Another resident of Terravita who didn’t want to be named said the security gates leading to the complex don’t lock at night.
Yarborough confirmed this was the case.
“Right now the security gates on the entrance are not closed, but at a recent strata meeting, they (said they) are going to go ahead and close the security gates from the hours of dusk until dawn—that’s on the cards right now.
“It would have been an advantage if the gates were closed, but anybody on foot could just walk around the gate.”
He added this event doesn’t make him feel any less safe in the area he lives.
“It’s one of those things that could happen anywhere; unfortunately, it happened here.”
Last week it was reported crime had dropped in West Kelowna by nearly one-third from 2009 to 2011.
Although the timing is coincidental, Mayor Doug Findlater said Monday night’s incident was unique.
“This is a very uncommon occurrence in terms of what it appears it may be. This is a unique situation and not reflective of the community in general,” said Findlater.
Findlater added he had very limited information on the incident.
“Obviously it’s a tragedy when something like this happens to anyone.”
Investigators are seeking public assistance and ask that anyone who may have observed anything suspicious in the area Monday evening contact West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880, or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.