Vancouver Island Homicides Pt 1. A look at recent Vancouver Island homicide cases and why many remain unsolved


WATCH: The head of the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit says despite public perception homicide investigations not on the rise. April Lawrence reports.

It’s one of the highest profile homicide investigations on Vancouver Island but the search to find who killed Dan Archbald and Ryan Daley is just part of a long list of active files on the desks of Island District detectives.

There have been six homicides so far in 2018 and in 2017 the BC Coroner listed 17 deaths as homicide.

Many of the murder investigations remain unsolved but the head of the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit said that isn’t unusual.

“The work we do is increasingly complicated, the volume of material we’re trying to manage is increasing, it’s doubling,” said Insp.Dave Hall. “It’s taking us longer to get to the point of recommending charges.”

Among those that remain unsolved include the death of 35-year-old Joe Gauthier in Victoria in March 2018. Family members say he was stabbed to death at a house party on Hillside Avenue but no arrests have been made.

In August 2017 police were called to Malloch Road in Metchosin after the body of 56-year-old Richard Milligan was found. The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit is still actively investigating.

And just the day before, the body of 25-year-old Eura Wanichpan was found by an excavator operator on the grounds of SJ Willis School in Victoria. She had been reported missing a few weeks before.

There are still no arrests in the murder of Makayla Chang. The 16-year-old’s body was found in May 2017, two months after she went missing.

Some of the open and active files are gang-related. Thirty-four-year-old Troy Dax McKinnon was gunned down outside his Nanaimo apartment building in January 2018.

And 39-year-old Michael Widner’s body was found ba y hiker near Port Renfrew in March 2017 – Widner was a Hells Angels prospect.

Despite public perception, Hall said the number of murders we’ve seen in the past year is only slightly above average.

“Year to year it is about the same,” he said. “I don’t think we’re seeing a massive spike in homicides that the public need to be worrying about.”

And he said in the large majority of cases they’re investigating, there is a relationship between the victim and suspect — random killings are rare.

As for suspicious disappearances on Vancouver Island, Hall couldn’t give an indication if the number of missing people has spiked. He did say B.C. has some of the highest policing standards in the country when it comes to investigating missing people.

“Although I know the public sometimes may be drawing connections, those aren’t necessarily the connections we’re drawing based on an assessment of the evidence,” he said.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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