Details of homicide outside Penticton high school paint a blurry picture for mother of victim | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Details of homicide outside Penticton high school paint a blurry picture for mother of victim

Taig Savage, 22, was found unresponsive near Penticton Secondary on the morning of Sept. 5. He was pronounced dead after being transported to hospital.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Penticton RCMP
September 27, 2021 - 7:00 AM

Tracey Savage is looking for a clear timeline on what happened to her son Taig Savage in the hours leading up to his murder in Penticton.

“My family needs a timeline so we can start to heal,” she said. “We need to know what happened, even though I realize it’s very possible we’ll never find out.”

Taig Savage, 22, was found unresponsive in a school field near Penticton Secondary around 6 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 5. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. RCMP are investigating the death as a homicide but no arrests have been made yet.

He was living with his father in Penticton, Tracey said, and on the morning of his death his father assumed he had left quietly for work at a local construction company. But when Taig’s boss contacted his dad to ask where his son might be, it became apparent something was wrong.

Tracey said Taig’s father contacted the RCMP to report their son missing, and then he called her.

Although it took several days before Taig’s identity was officially confirmed, Tracey was able to put the pieces together from the beginning. Not showing up to work was very out of character for her son, she said, and rumours that a body had been found at Penticton Secondary that morning were already circulating on social media.

“I think we knew right away.”

READ MORE: RCMP investigating suspicious death reported near Penticton Secondary track and field

The reason Taig left home that morning perplexes Tracey. At 2 a.m. he asked his dad to wake him up for work the next day. She believes he was killed around 4:30 or 5 a.m. His body was discovered shortly before 6 a.m.

She doesn’t understand why her son would be out at that time on a work night, why he was in his pyjamas, why he left home empty-handed and why his beloved dog Cooper wasn't with him.

If Taig stepped outside of his house to have a smoke, Tracey finds it strange that he wouldn’t have brought Cooper outside too. But wearing nothing more than his pyjamas, he had no way of contacting anybody, so she can't think of any other reason as to why else he would have left his home. 

“Why he would say goodnight to us? We had every indication he was in bed. Why didn’t he have his dog if he was going out for a walk?”

Cooper is seen waiting hopelessly at the door for his master to return home.
Cooper is seen waiting hopelessly at the door for his master to return home.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Cooper is a tough and protective dog, and since he appears to have been home all night, Tracey doubts any suspects stepped foot inside of Taig’s living space.

“No one would get in that house that didn’t know the dog,” Tracey said. “His absolute partner in crime. Cooper would have protected him, he was a Rottweiler cross … I don’t think anyone would have come near him with a dog.”

Several days later, Tracey went to the scene of the crime to look for evidence. She saw a significant amount of blood, which could be seen across a distance spanning over 1,000 square feet. She has no reason to believe the blood belonged to any additional people, and feels like there was too much of it for just one suspect to be responsible.

She was able to get a sense of where Taig’s bleeding started and where his body was discovered. He appeared to have been knocked down and dragged while travelling in the direction towards his home. She does not know if a weapon was involved or not.

READ MORE: RCMP release identity of Penticton homicide victim

The Penticton RCMP said it was not a random act, and that investigators don’t believe there is a threat to the general public or the students, whose first day of school was two days after the murder.

But Tracey is not fully convinced the streets of Penticton are actually safe and wonders why police feel so confident.

Taig had been working full time for three months and took his career very seriously, Tracey said, but for eight months prior he was underemployed and only landed short-term jobs.

“He needed to work, he had a busy mind.”

Although that period of underemployment was challenging for Taig, Tracey said he never got into serious trouble and would not have involved himself with a violent group of people.

She remembers him as a loveable redneck who wanted to break the Guinness World Record as the fastest beer chugger. He even started the paperwork for the application.

“He thought he could actually do it.”

Taig was someone who came to the defence of vulnerable people, Tracey said. He was an aspiring artist who loved drawing, which she suspects was inspired largely by Garfield, Charles Hatfield comics, and Redwall: The Graphic Novel. He was also a passionate cook who prepared gourmet meals out of whatever happened to be in the fridge that night – though that usually resulted with a big mess in the kitchen. And on two occasions, when friends were going through a rough time, he let them stay at the family home for a while.

Tracey has experienced similar tragedy in the past, having lost two young children to a fire in 1988. But the mourning process feels different this time.

“I was able to grieve right away after losing two children,” she said. “This is different. You don’t know what happens, or if anyone is going to tell you. You’re just guessing. It’s making it hard on us as a family, not knowing.”

Tracey is hopeful that members of public have more tips to share about Taig’s death with the RCMP.

Anybody wanting to support the family can donate to this GoFundMe page, or stop by Tracey’s business – the Just Hazel Cafe in Summerland – where prizes have been donated by local businesses as part of a raffle fundraiser.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 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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