Two deaths being treated as homicides by RCMP
Two homicide investigations are now underway in Prince George.
A woman was found dead at a rural Pineview home early last Thursday and a critically injured male was discovered at the same scene.
"On Monday an autopsy was conducted on the adult female and the cause of death was determined, but will not be released," said Prince George RCMP Const. Julie Champagne. "Following the results of the autopsy, investigators can now confirm that the investigation will be treated as a homicide."
Police cautioned the public about jumping to any conclusions based on the terminology.
"Homicide means any death as a result of human action, it does not necessarily mean murder," said Champagne.
The home in which the two victims were located is associated to Susan and Clarence Miner but the identity of the victims, including their ages, has been withheld. Champagne would only say that the victims were both residents of Prince George.
"The injured adult male remains in stable condition in hospital in Vancouver. I will not comment on [his ability to communicate with police]," she said. "We don't want to disclose any information that would negate the impact of our investigation by prematurely disclosing a point of evidence. We are still looking to figure out exactly what happened that morning on Holmes Road."
She would not say if there were any suspects or discuss a scenario that lead to the woman's death and the man's injuries, nor would she disclose what kind of call first brought Mounties to the house last Thursday.
Police are finished their forensic analysis at the home where the incident took place and it has been turned over to its owners.
Champagne could say, however, that "police believe that the incident was not random and that there is no threat to the public."
The other homicide investigation started Jan. 8. Frank William Edward Marion, 49, is accused of deliberately starting a fire that burned a home on Merritt Street, fatally injuring homeowner Jagdev Singh Jawanda, 85. Among the charges against Marion is one of manslaughter.
Should both these cases prove to be incidents of homicide, it would bring the city in line with 2009, when Prince George had three. The year is only half finished, but the statistics are still a long way from the recent high of nine (seven inside the city, two more nearby) in 2010 and the low of zero last year.
Prior to the death of Jawanda, the city had seen 411 consecutive days without allegations of a person's life being taken by another.
The last one was on Nov. 24, 2010 when a home in College Heights burned, killing homeowner Linda Fredin. No one has been named as a suspect in that incident, although police and fire investigators confirmed it as a suspicious blaze.
Before that, two disappearance reports on the same day - Sept. 23, 2010 - led to murder charges. Cynthia Frances Maas, 35, and Natasha Lynn Montgomery, 23, were the two alleged victims of foul play. The body of Maas was found on Oct. 9 of that year while the body of Montgomery is still undiscovered. Cody Alan Legebokoff has been charged with the murders of both, plus two others.
It is still unclear how the violent crime numbers from this year will accumulate to affect the Maclean's Magazine rankings of Canada's "most dangerous" cities - a list Prince George has topped in recent years. When the next edition of the Maclean's crime list comes out, though, it should reflect the zero figure in 2011.
Most of the homicides among the nine in 2010 were attributable to the city's drug trade or to the allegations against Legebokoff, which still remain to be proven in court.