More questions than answers in 10-year-old Kamloops murder cold case - InfoNews

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More questions than answers in 10-year-old Kamloops murder cold case

Henry Vandenberghe was 61 years old when he was struck over the head and killed in Kamloops 10 years ago.
Image Credit: Contributed
November 29, 2016 - 9:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - It was a cool November morning, around 6:30, when Henry Vandenberghe left his North Shore home to walk to the bus stop.

He took his usual path from his Thrupp Street home onto Mackenzie Avenue, where Spirit Square now sits. But he never made it onto the bus and he never made it to work that day. Vandenberghe was struck over the head.

A passerby stopped when they saw Vandenberghe and thought he hit his head and called for an ambulance, says Sgt. Lorne Wood of Kamloops RCMP’s Serious Crime Unit.

When he arrived to the emergency room, doctors quickly determined this was no fall.

“When he was… walking to the bus to go to work that morning, he had on a heavy coat, it was cold out that morning, he had a scarf wrapped tightly around his head,” Wood says.

Once emergency officials unwrapped the scarf from his head, they determined this had been an assault. Vandenberghe was bleeding and police were called to the hospital, and to the scene where Vandenberghe was found.

Wood says the assault happened Nov. 28, 2006, and Vandenberghe was taken off life support the next day.

But 10 years later, Wood says a lack of evidence has left RCMP without any answers and they’re turning to the public for help.

“Henry was very well-regarded in the community, volunteered, people looked up to him, he didn’t have any enemies, he was like everybody’s best friend,” Wood says. “There’s (no evidence) there. So that’s why we need something from the public.”

Wood says Vandenberghe was walking on a high-traffic path that morning, and someone probably saw him or someone else in the area.

“Given the area that it’s in, there’s very high probability that somebody did see somebody either coming or going at that time, saw someone approaching Henry, possibly while they’re driving by, not even thinking it’s important at the time,” Wood says. “That’s our big appeal right now is for that person or those persons to come forward to help us get to the bottom of this.”

Lori Marchand, executive director of Western Canada Theatre, says she knew Vandenberghe since she started working with the company in 1999.

“Henry was a very, very good friend, as well as a wonderful colleague,” Marchand says. “He was a vital part of the organization here.”

Vandenberghe was well known in the Kamloops community for his work in the theatre. WCT has since set up a memorial fund in his name, aimed at giving bursaries for low-income students interested in the Stage One Theatre School.

Since its creation in 2007, the Henry Vandenberghe Memorial Fund has helped give more than 30 students the opportunity to attend theatre school.

“I think that he would have been really proud to see the company in its current form and the growth within the Stage One program,” Marchand says.

She remembers the morning Vandenberghe’s colleagues first found out about the attack. Part of his character, Marchand says, was being extremely organized and on time.

When 8:30 a.m. had rolled around and no one had heard from Vandenberghe, his colleagues sent a search party to his home. Shortly after, the hospital called their office.

“It was our worst fear, of course. It was our worst fear come true,” Marchand says.

The murder happened during the theatre’s production of “Alice” which Vandenberghe had worked on. The cast and crew thought of him on opening night.

“We acknowledged him during our opening night and just tried to keep his spirit alive,” Marchand says. “He was full of humour and that was really what we tried to focus on.”

Kamloops RCMP is asking anyone with information on the homicide of Henry Vandenberghe to contact them at 250-828-3000.

The map below shows the route he likely took, that morning.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 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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