Police seeking deceased's fiancé after deadly crash, jewelry heist
Published Thursday, September 14, 2017 6:42PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 14, 2017 6:45PM PDT
As the investigation into a fatal crash near Hope, B.C. continues, sources tell CTV News police are searching for the deceased's fiancé.
The RCMP has not confirmed that fiancé, identified by people who know him as Anthony Cortez, is a suspect in their probe. Mounties said they have identified a suspect, but will not be releasing his name until charges are approved.
Cortez was engaged to Danielle "Deedee" Charlton, a mother of four who was in the passenger seat of a black SUV that plowed into a maintenance vehicle on Highway 3 Monday afternoon.
Witnesses said the driver fled the scene by stealing a wildfire crew's truck as Charlton was fighting for her life. She did not survive.
Police in Nelson, a roughly 500-kilometre drive from the crash site, have confirmed Charlton and an unnamed man are suspects in a jewelry heist committed hours before the collision.
Surveillance cameras captured a man in a disguise breaking the front glass at Ted Allen's Jewellery then smashing a number of cases around 4:30 a.m. The store's owner, Justin Pelant, told CTV News he turned the footage over to police, but that there is a clear view of the suspect.
"Very clear footage of his face looking through the door, and then he enters this door and there's four cameras watching him the whole time," Pelant said.
The total value of items stolen and damage to the store is estimated at $30,000.
Nelson police believe two suspects fled the area in a stolen SUV with stolen plates – the same vehicle that crashed near Hope at 3 p.m. that day.
"We don't believe that the events are directly related to each other, but we do feel very strongly that the same parties are involved," Sgt. Nate Holt of the Nelson Police Department said Wednesday.
The wildfire crew truck that was stolen from the collision site was recovered that evening in Hope, but there was no sign of the suspect.
Just after midnight Monday, police arrived at a house in the city. A man who lives there told CTV News they were looking for Cortez, Charlton's fiancé.
Court records show an Anthony Cortez with convictions that include possession of stolen property in Langley, theft in Surrey, and possession of a controlled substance and driving while prohibited in Nelson.
The RCMP has only said they are looking for a suspect who is a thin, white man, 5-9 or 5-10 tall, with short, dark hair and stubble on his face.
Anyone who sees him or has information on the crash is asked to call the RCMP's Fraser Valley Traffic Service at 604-702-4039 or the Hope RCMP detachment at 604-869-7750.
With files from CTV Vancouver's David Molko