Benchmarks January 15, 2004 Regular News Benchmarks Judge Lauren L. Miller has been appointed by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead to the Mediator Qualifications Board, filling the judicial vacancy in the Southern Division. K. Rodney May, formerly of Gronek & Latham in Orlando, has been sworn in as a U.S. bankruptcy judge in the Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florida. Judge Israel Umberto Reyes of the 11th Circuit has become an adjunct professor for the Paralegal and Investigative Technique Programs at Florida International University in Miami.
Categories: Editorial, OpinionOn this day of Thanksgiving, many face challenges, meager challenges and challenges so monumental that others among us can’t begin to comprehend how they get by.It’s so hard to be thankful sometimes when it seems the world just keeps pouring it on.But our area is full of people who truly care about others and who sacrifice a bit of themselves to help others in need.Today, for example, there are hundreds of people right in our area who are serving Thanksgiving meals to people in need or people who just need the company. These meals don’t happen on a whim. They take months of planning and organizing and solicitation of volunteers. Someone stood in a hot kitchen and precooked all those turkeys and mashed potatoes and vegetables and pies. They took time out of their evenings and weekends. Other individuals and companies donated the food for the meals, the plates and utensils, the kitchen facilities and the places to hold the meals. Others donated cash to help pay for it.Parents brought their children to help, both to impart on them the joy of giving and to remind them how blessed they are compared to others. Many are taking this Thanksgiving morning to deliver those meals to those who can’t leave their homes, leaving their warm homes for cold cars packed with packages of food.All this giving for just one event.It’s flat-out amazing when you think about what people do around here to help others and to serve their community throughout the year.During the natural disasters in Texas, Florida and the Pacific Northwest, we’ve had people who actually took time off from their jobs and away from their families, got on a plane and went there, helping feed people or provide medical care or assist with the cleanup. More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census We have people serving on community boards and school boards and in charitable organizations and hospitals and senior centers and church groups for no pay, no recognition. They probably even have to put up with some grief from people. The jobs are hard, and we know what a sacrifice it can be to serve. The most gratifying high notes in our communities are those involving the acts of young people.College students venture out to help their adopted hometowns, doing everything from organizing and staffing blood drives to fixing up elderly people’s property to raking leaves at the homes of senior citizens to sprucing up historic sites to leaving homemade hats and scarves on trees for the homeless to take.The generation that often gets criticized for its selfishness is in no short supply of individuals willing to invest their time and energy into helping others. Fear not; the future is safe in their hands.Whatever you do in the community, however you serve, whatever big or little contribution you might make to bettering the lives of others, it is appreciated. People’s lives are better for what you do. Your community is better.Today, when we sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, let’s make sure we remember to thank the givers. We have people around here who regularly go on missions to other countries to provide needed water, sewer treatment and medical attention.Every day, teams of volunteers go out into the community and rebuild Little League fields, clean up graffiti from bridges and buildings, rake the leaves and mow cemeteries so families can more appropriately honor the people they’ve lost.We have people raising money for victims of tragedies like car accidents and fires for medical care or to help offset the families’ expenses.We have people buying toys for children so they have a nice Christmas and people who organize trucks and volunteers to deliver the presents. We have people who regularly prepare care packages for soldiers serving overseas, giving them a touch of home even though they’re thousands of miles away.Throughout the year, people donate and package backpacks for hundreds of local children who come from impoverished homes, making sure these kids have food and school supplies so they’re at their best to learn.We have people who volunteer on the nastiest nights of the year to staff emergency shelters so that the homeless have a place to escape the cold.We have people with construction skills who donate their time and effort building homes for poor families, allowing them to provide a safe place for their children and have pride in home ownership.
SURREY, B.C. – The RCMP have released more details about the murders of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese and Leonard Dyck. Below is a copy of the full statement released by the RCMP.Statement by Assistant Commissioner Kevin HackettThank you all for attending today. My name is Kevin Hackett I am the Assistant Commissioner and Criminal Operations Officer in charge of Federal, Investigative Services and Organized Crime in British Columbia.As per the commitment made six weeks ago, I am here today to provide an overview of the triple homicide investigation in northern BC, and the subsequent search for the accused suspects.- Advertisement -From the time we first received the call about the suspicious deaths of two individuals south of Liard River Hot Springs on July 15th to the day we located the two deceased suspects almost 3,000 kilometres away in Manitoba 23 days later, significant work has been done to answer the many questions that we the police, the families of the deceased, and many members of the public had.Over the course of the investigation and search for the two accused, the BC RCMP dedicated a large number of resources and specialized units to this complex and fast moving investigation. There were up to 160 police officers working extended shifts on this investigation until the deceased suspects were ultimately located. The RCMP received over 1500 tips from the public through the dedicated phone tip line, reports to 911 call centers, front counter reports to police detachments and Crime Stoppers. Between July 16, 2019 and August 4, 2019, nineteen judicial authorizations were executed to further the investigation. An extensive amount of CCTV video was collected during the investigation and thousands of hours of recordings were reviewed and analyzed.During the investigation a number of Partner Agencies assisted the RCMP. This included American and Australian Police Agencies, the BC Prosecution Service, the Canadian Border Services Agency, the Coroner Services in British Columbia and Manitoba, Conservation Officers, Search and Rescue and the Canadian Military.Advertisement I would like to thank our RCMP colleagues in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba for their support as well as all of the other Law enforcement agencies that offered assistance. In particular, I would like to once again acknowledge the RCMP in Manitoba who lead an exhaustive and challenging search in that province. I would also like to thank the public, whether it was the hundreds of individuals who came forward with information, the individuals, businesses or agencies who assisted our investigators on the ground in Northern BC and the other communities that were directly impacted. We would like to also acknowledge and thank the greater Canadian public at large who showed vigilance and patience as we worked diligently to advance the investigation.We know this file had impacts provincially, nationally and internationally. Many have been affected, but none more so than the grieving Fowler, Deese and Dyck families. We are hopeful that the release of the public report and our investigative findings provides greater clarity into this investigation and search.Thank you.Deese Family StatementNo one ever wants to be a victim or wishes that for their loved one. Our beloved Chynna was a ray of sunshine, and for her to be taken has made the world feel a bit darker. The impact of such horrendous crimes was felt rippling throughout many communities and we would like to express sincere gratitude to the general public for their empathy and aid during the investigation and manhunt. Many thanks to the men and women of uniform for their tireless efforts as a piece of justice has been served in knowing the conclusion of this case. The overwhelming contribution of time and resources offered over the past few months is a testament to the dedication to service of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.The loss we continue to endure is shattering, but Chynna’s memories are a benediction to her genuine happiness and intense love of life. Throughout this tragedy, along with the help of many, they serve as our reminder of the good nature and peace humanity has the capacity to show. We hope Chynna’s legacy continues to grow and her spark allows us to build each other up. We also politely ask that media respect our privacy at this time. We have taken the totality of the investigative findings – including a review of all digital and physical evidence, statements, tips and forensic examination reports – and have compiled a public report that we are issuing today.While we have been able to gain greater clarity on the movements and actions of the two accused, we respect that the answers have not reduced the trauma and grief experienced by the families of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese and Leonard Dyck. We ensured that the victims’ families were made aware of the information that we would be releasing publicly and we continue to provide them with support. We also continue to support the families of the accused.The report does address a number of areas and specifics in greater detail, but I would like to highlight and confirm the following:We uncovered no information that predicted or forecasted the homicides that took place in northern BC. Based on the firearms lab results, crime scene examination, timelines of suspects and suspect recorded admissions, we believe that no other suspects are responsible for the three homicides or are involved in anyway. The murders appear to be random and crimes of opportunity.Advertisement The investigative theory is that McLeod and Schmegelsky came across Lucas Fowler’s van and targeted Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese for unknown reasons. They shot and killed the couple before continuing up into the Yukon.The two returned to BC days later because they were having vehicle issues and came across Leonard Dyck outside of Dease Lake and shot and killed him.The suspects then burned their vehicle to cover up evidence and delay police before stealing Mr. Dyck’s vehicle, money and a number of personal items – all of which facilitated further escape ultimately toward Eastern Canada.Once they reached Manitoba they again burned the stolen vehicle and attempted to continue foot, before they realized their efforts were failing. It is believed that McLeod shot Schmegelsky before shooting himself in a suicide pact.Two rifles were found with the two deceased suspects. These rifles were examined by the firearms lab and were determined to be the same weapons used in the Fort Nelson and Dease Lake homicides, as well as their own deaths. One of the two guns was determined to be same gun legally purchased by the suspects at Cabela’s, outdoor equipment store, in Nanaimo on July 12th.Advertisement A digital camera belonging to Mr. Dyck was also discovered. It contained six videos and three still images. In the videos, the suspects took responsibility for all three murders. They indicated no remorse for their actions and their intentions to potentially kill others. They also described their intent to commit suicide and their wish to be cremated.These videos do not contain any information regarding the motive behind their actions nor do they provide specifics regarding the murders.While a number of additional facts and findings are being released today, the RCMP has chosen not to release the videos recovered.The RCMP Behavioural Analysis Unit (BAU) conducted a review of the videos and was concerned with a behaviour called “identification”, which is considered a “warning behaviour” in the context of a threat assessment.The videos may influence or inspire other individuals to carry out a targeted act of violence, essentially creating copycat killers. In BAU’s experience, those who commit mass casualty attacks or similar acts of violence are heavily inspired by previous attackers and their behaviours.It is believed that the suspects may have made the video recordings for notoriety. Releasing them would not only be disrespectful to the families of the deceased – who are also concerned about the impacts of the release – and it could sensationalize the actions of the suspects. By not releasing the videos we want to mitigate the potential of other individuals being inspired to commit similar acts of violence. For these reasons, the videos will not be released to the public by the RCMP.Advertisement