January 14, 2014 - 8:22 AM
'WANTED TO JUMP, DANCE AND SCREAM'
KAMLOOPS – The RCMP have arrested and charged the boyfriend of a teenage girl who was found murdered in Kamloops in 2012.
Damien Lawrence Taylor, 22, was arrested Friday and charged with second degree murder in the death of 16-year-old C.J. Fowler, detachment commander Insp. Brad Mueller announced today.
Fowler was visiting Kamloops in December 2012 when her body was discovered in a ravine near Guerin Creek. Police said when they found her, she had a bus ticket to go home near Terrace. Her parents, Glen Wilson and Matilda Fowler, were in Kamloops for the announcement.
“When we were told, me and Matilda both sighed at the same time,” Wilson told reporters. "Our prayers and thoughts were answered."
He was visibly emotional. Tears welled in his eyes, he choked up and spoke slowly to get the words out. Matilda gave Wilson a hug of support when tears threatened to overwhelm him.
Wilson said he thought it was going to be a tough weekend when they learned of the arrest.
"It was actually a relief," he said. "Matilda actually wanted to jump, dance and scream."
Taylor is in police custody and is scheduled to appear in Kamloops Provincial Court on Monday. He was arrested without incident in Kelowna where he's been living. He's also spent time in Terrace, Vanderhoof, Kamloops and Prince George.
Fowler's body was found in a ravine Dec. 5, 2012 by a man walking his dog. Police suspect she was on her way to the Sahali Greyhound Station when she died. Fowler was from the Gitxsan village of Gitanmaax near Terrace and had a bus ticket home. A video surveillance photo released by RCMP showed her leaving the Royal Inland Hospital that day. Police say Taylor travelled to Kamloops with Fowler before she was found dead. Everyone called her C.J. but her legal name is Summer Star Elizabeth Krista Lee Fowler.
Mueller said the arrest came after an involved investigation by the Serious Crimes Unit that led police beyond Kamloops to Kelowna, Prince George, and Terrace.
"We have kept C.J.'s family a part of the investigation," he said.
Wilson was grateful to the RCMP.
"We had faith in them all along. They kept us strong," he said. "We're just so overwhelmed with the work that Kamloops RCMP has done."
Mueller emphasized the time and resources that go into any investigation and discarded public criticism about the slow progress over the past year.
"It is difficult for the community to understand," he said, adding only 'facts' hold up in the courts.
He, along with a representative of the Assembly of First Nations, echoed support for both Matilda and Wilson.
"Her life was cut short much too young," said Charlene Belleau. "We continue to advocate for a national inquiry (for missing women in Canada.)"
Wilson said it's only the beginning of a healing journey for the family.
"This could be your child, your sister, your mother — we want this nightmare to end," he said.
Accused no stranger to courts or jail
Damien Taylor's was convicted of robbery in Vanderhoof, B.C. on Jan. 24, 2010. He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of theft under $5,000 and was given a year of probation. But he violated his probation in May of the same year and was sentenced to 27 days in jail and fined $50 for breach of probation.
Taylor also pleaded guilty to breaching his probation conditions on three separate occasions, twice in 2011 and once 2012. He got a total of nine days in jail for those violations.
Then on Jan. 29, 2012 he was facing drug charges in Prince George, charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance. He pleaded guilty to both counts and was sentenced to a week in jail and fined $50.
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- This story was updated at 3:04 p.m., Jan. 12, 2014 to include a video of the news conference announcing the arrest of the accused.
- This story was updated at 1:18 p.m., Jan. 12, 2014 to include the accused's criminal history.
- This story was updated at 12:48 a.m., Jan. 12, 2014 to include reaction from the victim's parents and the Assembly of First Nations and a photo of the accused.
- This story was updated at 11:18 a.m., Jan. 12, 2014 to include details from the RCMP news conference.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014