UPDATE: 2:45 p.m. Nov. 14
BARRHEAD - The remains of a missing Salmon Arm man have been found.
Several days after Alberta RCMP laid charges against three people in connection with the murder of Valentine Degenhardt, a medical exam has confirmed the discovery of his body. A news release from Alberta RCMP states a ground search on Nov. 11 roughly 65 kilometres northwest of where Degenhardt's car was found by hikers, a special operations team located what appeared to be human remains.
The remains were sent to the chief medical examiner in Edmonton, who on Thursday confirmed they belonged to Degenhardt.
Police say Degenhardt's family has been notified of the discovery.
SALMON ARM - A Facebook page dedicated to finding a missing Salmon Arm man was filled with hope he would be found until yesterday when the title was changed to Rest in Peace: Valentine Degenhardt.
Degenhardt’s family got the news over the weekend when Alberta police announced they arrested three people in connection with the 45-year-old's murder.
“It’s pretty surreal, kind of like a sense of relief we finally have an answer. Not the one we were looking for,” brother Tim Degenhardt says.
Val Degenhardt was reported missing in July and his family, with the help of Crime Stoppers, established a $5,000 reward for anyone with information. Tim says the family, including Degenhardt’s newlywed wife and stepson, who still live in Salmon Arm, are devastated. Val was last seen July 17 leaving the home of an acquaintance in Barrhead, Alberta. A few hours later, his movements were captured on video surveillance at a gas station. Later, hikers discovered his truck in a remote area about two hours northwest of Edmonton.
It seemed the case had turned cold, but then last weekend police arrested Norman John Jerrett, 46, for first-degree murder, robbery, break-and-enter and indignity to a dead body. Norma McAllister, 45, is charged with accessory after the fact and break-and-enter. Carl McAllister, 29, is also charged with accessory after the fact. The three Barrhead residents are slated to appear in court Nov. 26.
Tim says his brother was a pot dealer and was scheduled to meet with the three people charged with his murder.
“I assume they were doing some kind of deal,” Tim says.
He says his brother rented a home and lived part-time at a place in Morinville, Alta. He'd been involved in the marijuana trade for a long time.
“I don’t know why he chose to do it (deal marijuana). I do know, seeing Val’s association with people, he basically got along with everybody.... What made these three people do this I can’t tell you,” Tim says.
Sgt. Josée Valiquette, a media relations officer with the Alberta RCMP, wouldn’t comment on the relationship between Degenhardt and the three suspects.
“In regards to a possible motive, I can’t say. The details will be discovered in court proceedings,” she said.
Tim describes his brother as instantly likable, funny and mischievous. He has fond memories of fishing with him in northern Saskatchewan.
“I don’t think he had a mean bone in his body. I don’t think he deserved what happened to him,” Tim says.
Degenhardt’s body has yet to be found, though police have narrowed in on a specific area.
“Until we actually have a body it’ll be open-ended, but they (police) seem fairly sure he’s been murdered,” Tim says.
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