Logan Lake taking action after family attacked by recovery centre patient | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Logan Lake taking action after family attacked by recovery centre patient

Rory Heppner (right) with wife Chelsea and kids in Logan Lake. The family was attacked by a patient from VisionQuest on their property on June 14, 2022.

Concerned residents of Logan Lake are raising the alarm about VisionQuest, a men’s recovery facility just outside of town. 

It is in response to an incident that occurred last week where resident Rory Heppner was attacked on his own property by a disturbed man from the facility.

To complicate the situation, Heppner and his dad were forced to keep the attacker down for an hour until police finally arrived from Merritt, due to a lack of police resources in Logan Lake. 

READ MORE: Logan Lake dad fends off attacker from nearby men's recovery centre

On June 23, neighbours representing almost a dozen families gathered together to build a safety plan and start lobbying the government for help addressing what they say are dangerous patients wandering out of the recovery centre, and also the lack of police enforcement in Logan Lake available to address ongoing conflicts.

VisionQuest is a drug rehabilitation centre located on the outskirts of town that continues to be at the centre of controversy with recent reports of patients being dropped off in Kamloops.

READ MORE: Kamloops's top cop blasts Logan Lake addictions centre for bringing homeless people into city

Logan Lake residents Tyler Kennedy and Andrew Sickmueller are part of the group pushing for help after experiencing conflicts with VisionQuest patients on their own properties. 

“Last Christmas morning this guy walked five to eight kilometres down the road from the facility and tried to break into my house at 2 a.m.,” Kennedy said. “I was woken up by feet in crunching snow. We have doors to the deck on our bedroom, the guy pulled the locked handle so hard it pulled some bolts out.”

Kennedy said he had his wife and extended family members including children sleeping in the home at the time so he went out and confronted the perpetrator who was looking around the outside of his house.

“He looked scared when he saw me and told me his name was Trevor, and that he was from VisionQuest,” he said. “He claimed he was there because he needed an ambulance, but I was sure it was a made up story. My wife called the police and it took them 45 minutes to get there coming from Merritt.”

Sickmueller has experienced many similar incidents since taking possession of his home in the summer of 2016.

“I had a cleanup crew at my house during the first week and a cop showed up and told us we should go inside because a dangerous offender was missing from VisionQuest,” he said. “In the summer of 2018 a guy with a rope in his hand was standing on my driveway. He was looking for a spot to hang himself. I offered him something to sit on and water and phoned VisionQuest asking if they were missing someone. They came and picked him up.”

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In September 2020 Sickmueller had a friend staying over at his house. The friend had hunting rifles in his truck and was planning to head out early to hunt.

“A VisionQuest guy came down and broke into the truck at around midnight and took some rifles,” he said. “I had just turned off my TV and walked into my sunroom when I noticed my motion light was on. I assumed it was a deer and went out and looked, standing in front of both of our trucks. I heard gravel move but then I saw a huge bullfrog and thought that was what tripped the light.”

Sickmueller said the thief carried the guns down the road and stole a truck from a Bed and Breakfast, then drove off with it. The truck was recovered, but the guns were not.

VisionQuest often takes on clients that are facing criminal charges and moving through the court system. If they breach any conditions set by a judge, they are ordered to check in with a probation officer within 24 hours to be taken back to prison or a warrant is issued for their arrest.

“Judges are giving offenders an option to go to VisionQuest and there is nobody, no regulations, policies or security holding these people here,” Kennedy said. “It is pathetic and incompetent for a judge to give this option and not even have an ankle bracelet on the guy.”

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The group is making petitions and collecting signatures demanding changes be made to the system and sending their demands to government authorities. They are also pushing the provincial government to provide funding to hire more police officers for Logan Lake.

“We are going to phone the MLA and talk to police about relevant reports to see it on paper and send that to the MLA,” Sickmueller said. “For policing we used to have 24-hour policing but not anymore. Part of it is to see if this can be improved but a lot of it is about VisionQuest, they are the ones responsible for this.”

A neighbourhood watch and group text safety line is in development, along with gathering relevant police reports.

VisionQuest was unavailable to comment on this story.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 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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