Four years to the month he was killed, police have charged two people in the murder of 22-year-old Tyler Myers of Salmon Arm.
Myers died of a gunshot wound on the evening of Nov. 21, 2008, his body discovered by a passerby about 7:30 p.m. on a trail on the grounds of Bastion Elementary School.
On Monday of this week, police arrested a 20-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman, both who were under 18 years at the time of the murder so can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Both are residents of Salmon Arm and both have been charged with first degree murder.
The pair appeared briefly in Salmon Arm Court on Tuesday where the charges were read out. They were ordered to be held in custody until their next joint court appearance on Nov. 20. The parents of the accused man and the mother of the accused woman were also present in the courtroom.
At a news conference at the Salmon Arm RCMP detachment Tuesday afternoon, Insp. Gary Shinkaruk of the RCMP’s E Division Major Crime Section said the man had been arrested at his home in Salmon Arm while the woman was arrested in a public setting in Vernon – both without incident.
Both were known to the deceased, he said.
“We talked to the Myers family – certainly it was a very emotional time for them as we can all imagine… We told them who they were, they were aware of both the individuals. The three individuals – Mr. Myers and the two charged, knew each other. I won’t go into the specifics of that relationship, we’ll let that come out in court, certainly the families also knew each other and I think that the Myers family was surprised at who has been charged…”
Shinkaruk emphasized that the investigation remains active and further charges could be laid.
“Certainly we find often that once charges are laid, some people at that point may feel safer or may have information they didn’t want to really bring forward for a variety of reasons.”
Shinkaruk said he would encourage anyone who has any information regarding the crime to contact police.
The courtroom was almost filled to capacity with many young people, some of whom were expressing shock at the identities of the accused. Many said they felt compelled to come to court to try and look the accused killers in the eye.
Shinkaruk was asked at the news conference if the murder could have been drug-related.
He replied: “Tyler Myers, a 22-year-old Salmon Arm youth, did not deserve in any way to be murdered in 2008 or any time. The investigation, the details of what motive or other details are best coming out in court, respecting the charter rights, but certainly, we’ll say the three individuals did know each other. We don’t believe this was a random murder. By virtue of the first-degree murder charge we believe it was a planned and deliberate murder of Tyler Myers.”
He said the investigation went through several stages. He credited the Salmon Arm RCMP Detachment for its thorough preservation of evidence, initial investigations, interviews and follow-up interviews. The RCMP Southeast District Major Crimes Unit then joined the investigation, which Shinkaruk also credited for its work in moving the investigation forward. This year, the Unsolved Homicides Unit took on the investigation from the Southeast District and has been working on it full time.
“Certainly when Unsolved comes on, it gives the opportunity to focus full time on that… It allowed a team of dedicated investigators to concentrate on this,” he said, noting that the earlier investigations paved the way for the arrests.
The murder took place when there was a function going on at the elementary school, Shinkaruk said, noting that Salmon Arm is a small, safe community – and this crime was a shock.
“It was after school hours but there were adults that were there… It reinforces that when people do murder in public places, in open-air places, it really does put people at risk. This happened in a trail on a school ground. People heard the shots when they were at a school function.”