14 homicides, suspicious deaths in Kamloops, Okanagan in 2022 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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14 homicides, suspicious deaths in Kamloops, Okanagan in 2022

More people were killed in homicides or suspicious circumstances this year in Kamloops and the Okanagan compared to 2021, and nearly all of them remain unsolved.

So far, fourteen people were killed among four cities this year as the new year approaches, compared to nine across the region last year. Those are just the ones that RCMP have opted to tell the public about — there could be more.

In Kelowna, Austyn-Ann Godfrey was found dead at a Glenmore dog park on Jan. 16.

Kelowna RCMP haven't publicly called the 25-year-old's death a homicide, but she warned family and friends she was worried for her safety through social media, even naming a man that could be looking for her, in the days before her death.

Kelowna RCMP would investigate three more deaths in 2022, with two of them resulting in charges.

Harmandeep Kaur, 24, died in hospital after she was assaulted on Feb 26 while working as a security guard at the UBC Okanagan campus.

Dante Ognibene-Hebbourn, 22, was arrested that night under the Mental Health Act and later charged for second-degree murder. He'll be in court again Jan. 12, 2023, for a pre-trial conference.

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On Aug. 2, Kelowna man Wyne Zablan, 25, was charged with first-degree murder just days after the victim's body was found in Okanagan Lake. Police have not publicly identified the victim, but they described him as an Asian man between 20 and 40 years old after he was found.

Chilliwack man Nicholas Lorne Epp died after a fight outside a Kelowna nightclub on Aug. 12, marking the latest homicide investigation of the year.

Kelowna RCMP witnessed an "altercation" outside the club, but did not say whether anyone was arrested at the time. Police later issued a surveillance photo of a possible suspect.

The Penticton area had five victims in the past year among three separate incidents, but no charges have been laid.

In two separate investigations, two bodies were found in burnt out vehicles on Aug. 6 and Sept. 15, respectively.

Two bodies were found on Aug. 6 near Garnet Valley Road, outside Summerland. Police confirmed the investigation was a homicide on Aug. 9, adding that it was somehow connected with a car chase in Abbotsford where two people died in a crash.

Penticton residents Douglas Barker and Alannah Morningstar Brown were found dead in another burnt out vehicle near the Penticton Shooting Range on Sept. 15. Their deaths are suspicious, but police have not yet confirmed whether it's a homicide.

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The latest Penticton area homicide was just this month when a man was sitting in his vehicle downtown, where he was stabbed on Dec. 17. He was expected to survive his injuries, but he later died in hospital. Police have not publicly identified the victim.

It's not clear whether the victim and the suspect knew each other, but Penticton RCMP said the investigation has made "significant" progress and the public is not in danger.

Kamloops RCMP is investigating three homicides this year.

The first is the youngest known victim across the region, who was an 18-year-old high school student.

Jagraj Dhinsa's body was found in a Tk'emlups parking lot on Jan. 29. There's been no charges so far, but police did identify a suspect vehicle shortly after the investigation began.

In March, TRU lecturer Mohd Abdullah's body was found in a vehicle in Kamloops.

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The 60-year-old was reported missing earlier in the month when he didn't show up for work, and his body was found three days later. Local lawyer Butch Bagabuyo has been charged with interfering with a dead body after allegedly storing Abdullah's body in a plastic bin, but no murder charges have been laid so far.

The latest homicide in Kamloops was the shooting death of Lawrence Lloyd Pooli in an Aug. 26 drive-by. No murder charges have been laid, but Pooli has a known criminal history and was one of multiple people charged in a recent drug trafficking sting.

David Jeffrey Tremblay, born in 1985, is one of his co-accused and recently pleaded guilty to an earlier attempt to shoot at Pooli in 2020.

Kamloops was the only area where a man was killed by police, but that's not included in the 14 homicides and suspicious deaths. Matthew Gustafson abducted his child and ex-partner in August, and he was shot by police on a rural property outside Kamloops after a lengthy chase and standoff.

Compared to the other three areas, Vernon saw the fewest homicides with two in the region this year.

The first was on Jan. 5 when a person died downtown near the Salvation Army House of Hope.

Police have not identified the victim or even the person's gender, but did confirm an autopsy revealed the victim was murdered, according to a Jan. 14 news release.

The second was at the Okanagan Indian Band where Wolf-Ingo Rudolf Beyer's body was found on 6 Mile Road on May 29. Peter Michael Visintainer was charged with his second-degree murder within days.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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