Slain teen may have been stalked, friend says
A friend of a teen girl murdered in a small B.C. town this week believes the 18-year-old may have been stalked by a stranger.
Mounties don't yet have a suspect in the slaying of Taylor Van Diest, who died after being found unconscious and severely injured near the railroad tracks that run through Armstrong Monday night. She was reported missing after she failed to show up for a rendezvous.
Van Diest's close friend Chantal Cloutier says the slain girl's text messages suggest she was being followed.
"The last text she sent to her boyfriend was, ‘I'm being creeped,' and that's the last thing that she ever said," Cloutier told CTV News.
It was when the texts suddenly stopped that Van Diest's friends and family became concerned, reported her missing and set out to search for her. They discovered her in a bushy area about an hour later.
On Wednesday, RCMP spokesman Gord Molendyk said investigators are looking to speak with anyone who received a message from Van Diest the night of the killing.
"There were messages sent back and forth between her and friends. There may be some information within that message that would be useful in our investigation," he told reporters.
Molendyk advised young people in the community to exercise caution until investigators have a better handle on the case.
"Travel in areas of the community that have good visibility, let family or friends know where you are going and when you're expected to arrive, and if you have a cell phone, please carry it," he said.
Local youth are also advised to travel in groups or ask parents or friends for a ride.
She was rushed to Vernon Hospital then transferred to Kelowna, where she succumbed to her injuries.
Mounties are not speculating on the cause of death, but say details could be confirmed shortly in an autopsy. Molendyk would not comment Wednesday on media reports that Van Diest suffered a head wound or was stabbed.
The deceased's aunt, Anne Michalcheon, said she was shocked to learn Van Diest was killed because the good-natured teen had no dangerous friends or associates who would have caused concern among her family.
"I thought, ‘No, this isn't real.' It was surreal, actually," Michalcheon said. "This happened to a member of my family, my kin…. It doesn't make any sense."
Her friends say she was a quiet girl who was kind to others.
Anyone who thought they saw Van Diest Monday evening is asked to call police at 250-546-3028 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Kent Molgat