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Police arrest suspect in 13-year-old unsolved murder case in Lytton
The body of Sandy Charlie was discovered in September 2011. William Robert Smith, 45, was arrested Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, and charged with manslaughter related to Charlie's death.
Photograph by: Submitted photo , The Province
On the trail of a killer for 13 years, police Wednesday arrested a 45-year-old man in relation to the death of Sandy Charlie in 2000 near Lytton, B.C.
William Robert Smith was arrested without incident in Langley, B.C., and has been charged with manslaughter. Smith is being held in the Lower Mainland until he is transferred in order to appear in Kamloops Provincial Court Monday.
The arrest is the biggest development in the case that the provincial unsolved homicide unit took over in 2005.
It began Jan. 20, 2000, when family and friends of Charlie, a member of Lytton First Nation band, reported he had been missing since December 1999. They had waited to alert authorities until the 20th, Charlie’s birthday, in the hopes that he would return or make contact.
An extensive search by the Lytton RCMP and volunteers was conducted. The case also underwent an extensive review by the RCMP Southeast District Major Crime Unit.
In 2005, the RCMP in B.C. Unsolved Homicide Unit took over the investigation and continued to review numerous tips and findings, as well as explored advances in forensic analysis.
In September 2011, human remains were discovered in the Lytton area, in a concealed makeshift grave. Investigators determined forensically that it was Charlie. Evidence was collected that eventually led to a charge.
“Throughout the course of our investigation, RCMP officers were reminded that Mr. Charlie was a well-liked member of his community. From what we have determined, Sandy did nothing to put himself in a situation where he would be harmed. He was a true victim,” explains Insp. Gary Shinkaruk, of the E Division Major Crime Unit.
“We have to also thank the community of Lytton for their continued efforts and support. Missing persons and homicide cases can have a wide-ranging impact and this was even greater in the tight-knit community of Lytton.”
A sad side note to the already tragic tale is that Charlie’s son, Sandy Nolan Harry Cleghorn, died while searching for Charlie.
Cleghorn was reported missing on Jan. 25, 2000, after he had travelled to Lytton to look for his father. On March 12, 2000, a body ID’d as Cleghorn was located on the Fraser River near Lytton. Police determined Cleghorn died from exposure.
“Our empathy and thoughts go out to the Charlie family, not only for the uncertainty that has been in place with Sandy, but the added loss of his son who was also trying to find his dad,” says Insp. Shinkaruk.
“I would like to thank the RCMP for their work on giving closure to the Charlie family,” says Lytton Band Councilor Jim Brown.
Source - http://www.theprovince.com/news/Police+arrest+suspect+year+unsolved+murder+case+Lytton/7101514/story.html
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