Family hopes charges in 2014 Kelowna murder will finally bring closure | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Family hopes charges in 2014 Kelowna murder will finally bring closure

Chris Ausman, left, was killed in Rutland early Jan. 25, 2014. His younger brother Kelly was also his best friend.
Image Credit: Contributed
November 23, 2016 - 2:30 PM


KELOWNA – It took Kelly Ausman more than a year before he could drive past the spot in Rutland where his brother’s body was found.

“Leathead (bypass) was our best friend,” he says. “But eventually I got stronger with it. I guess I kind of accepted it and realized our brother wasn’t there. You start to move forward a little bit.”

Police found Chris’ body on the sidewalk near the Rutland Road and Highway 33 intersection in Rutland just after 2 a.m. Jan. 25, 2014. RCMP said he was murdered and just this week iNFOnews learned that an arrest had finally been made. Chris was 32 years old when he died; two years older than Kelly was at the time.

Kelly and Chris were about as close as two brothers can be. Chris followed Kelly to Kelowna from Calgary almost ten years ago to work as his apprentice in construction. They lived together, worked together and golfed together. 

“It’s on the job site where I miss him the most, waking up and grinding out the day together,” Kelly says. “We were known as a package, if you will. He was one of those special people. Everybody loved him. He was respectful, cared for everybody and lived by the theory that you treat someone how you want to be treated.”

That’s why it’s so difficult for Kelly to believe his brother was killed, perhaps in some kind of confrontation.

“He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," he says. "He had such a big heart and was always upbeat. Just a very caring person and a loving father.”

Kelly’s niece, now 13, is still struggling to adapt to a life without her dad.

“She didn’t really realize at the time how severe it is but now it’s coming out,” he says. “Her graduation, wedding day, there are going to be a lot of important milestones that she can’t celebrate with her dad.”

Originally from Cranbrook where their parents still live, Chris moved to Kelowna when he was 19.

They still grapple with the loss.

“I don’t think there are enough buckets for the tears mom has cried,” he says. “As a family unit we just want closure. I’ve been holding onto his ashes until we get some justice. We’re really hoping the guy will find some decency, tell the truth and not drag it out. He took an innocent life and a lot of people are suffering every day because of it.”

Steven Randy Pirko, born 1992, was arrested on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 and charged with second degree murder. He remains in custody.

An impromptu memorial has appeared on the spot where Chris Ausman was found murdered.
An impromptu memorial has appeared on the spot where Chris Ausman was found murdered.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 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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News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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