Join us at The Chilliwack Progress as we take our readers on a thoughtful trip down memory lane. Our Top Stories will recap the most significant news events, milestones and emerging themes that have shaped Chilliwack in 2016. It was undeniably a notable year, from an unprecedented spike in homelessness, to major development news, to the community revealing its keen interest in crime and politics, and a most caring heart.
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Murder made the headlines in a disturbing way in 2016.
There were five homicides this year. But one in particular left the community shaken.
On a warm afternoon in May, a 49-year-old Chilliwack man was stabbed to death in front of horrified shoppers in the crowded parking lot of a downtown supermarket.
Police believe a dispute started elsewhere. As two vehicles roared through the city streets, a cyclist was struck on First Ave., between Spadina and Young.
The two vehicles carried on through the busy Save-On-Foods parking lot before colliding at the Yale Road entrance.
An altercation ensued and one driver chased the other on foot into the parking lot where he stabbed the second driver multiple times.
Police were on scene within minutes.
The suspect was taken into custody while police, firefighters and paramedics worked unsuccessfully to resuscitate the man.
Charged with second-degree murder was 63-year-old Gerald Dolman.
The killing may have been the most dramatic, but the others were equally tragic.
Three months earlier in late February, a simple home in Yarrow was behind police tape.
RCMP had been called the home to check on the well-being of a 51-year-old woman, but found her dead.
A few days later a first-degree murder charge was laid against Clayton Warkentin.
In April there was another very public murder. On a quiet Monday evening, an altercation outside the housing complex turned violent. When it was over, a 33-year-old father of three lay dead.
At the time, one person was taken into custody on a firearms charge. However, it wasn’t until August that enough evidence was gathered to charge 34-year-old Daniel Fabas with second-degree murder.
In July police were called to Glenwood Street home following reports of an assault. The 40-year-old victim later died in hospital, sparking an extensive search for two suspects.
The pair were arrested within two days.
Cydnie Markel-Rempel is charged with manslaughter. David “Yoda” McKay is charged with murder.
Both of the accused are currently before the courts.
Chilliwack’s fifth murder of the year is still without an arrest.
In early September, two people were found shot on Chilliwack Central Road. A 23-year-old Surrey man survived the incident, however the 52-year-old woman he was with – Diane Kathleen Johner – did not.
Police released the name and photo of the victim in hopes of generating new leads.
She was a Caucasian female, 5’7” tall and 120 lbs., with long, curly blonde hair and hazel eyes. On the day she was shot, she was wearing blue jeans, white shoes and a dark coloured zip up sweater.
No one has been charged in the murder.