Kelowna hit-and-run now considered a homicide
Published Monday, January 4, 2010 5:44PM PST
A fatal collision between a van and a pedestrian on New Year's Day in Kelowna, B.C., is now being treated as the city's first homicide of the year.
Lake Country resident Joel Reimer was struck by a light blue minivan around 8 a.m. Friday morning.
The 30-year-old, who had just arrived in the central Okanagan city to visit family the night before, died at the scene.
The older-model van, still running when police arrived, was recovered at the crash site.
Kelowna RCMP now say his death is a homicide and has assigned the Major Crimes Unit to investigate.
Spokesperson Const. Steve Holmes told ctvbc.ca evidence at the scene allowed investigators to determine the accident could be intentional. He added snow on the ground assisted detectives but declined to elaborate.
Holmes said a duffel bag and rolling suitcase belonging to Reimer disappeared around the time of the incident. Both were on the corner of a street about 450 yards away from where the vehicle crashed, he said.
"Someone was seen picking them up right around the time he was hit give or take a few minutes."
An anonymous 31-year-old woman claiming to be the van's owner told a Kelowna newspaper this weekend she was asleep at home when the accident happened.
A man at the woman's home Monday told CTV News surveillance tape from a nearby convenience store proves her assertion.
Holmes confirmed the woman was interviewed as part of the investigation, and has been cleared.
"We're still looking to identify someone responsible," he said.
Mounties have yet to determine if Reimer knew the van's driver.
With files from CTV British Columbia's Kent Molgat