'This is not right': Transit police search for suspect after elderly woman attacked on SkyTrain
Metro Vancouver Transit Police are searching for a suspect after a disturbing attack on a SkyTrain last month in Vancouver that sent an elderly woman to hospital.
Janice Derrick’s relatives said she was coming home from Christmas shopping when she was assaulted by a stranger.
Derrick’s niece Kandice Boudreau said her 76-year-old aunt is still recovering in at Burnaby Hospital two weeks later.
“I was just in shock that my aunt got attacked,” she said. “You know, unprovoked attack. She’s an elderly First Nations woman. This is not right.”
Boudreau said Derrick was coming home on Nov. 23 between 5 and 6 p.m. when she boarded the train at Commercial Drive for her usual ride to Renfrew station.
Before she got there, Derrick’s family and police said the Gitxsan elder had picked up a piece of clothing that she saw on the train floor, folded it, and placed it on an empty seat.
Sgt. Clint Hampton with the Transit Police said the woman sitting beside the empty seat “took exception to this.”
“She began yelling, swearing,” he said.
Boudreau said the woman then got up and attacked her aunt.
“Just started hitting her on the head,” she said. “She was screaming for help, and nobody helped her.”
Sgt. Hampton said Derrick was met by a SkyTrain attendant at the station, where she treated by paramedics before being taken to Burnaby Hospital.
“The victim's caregiver was actually able to come and she was updated on the events,” he said.
Derrick’s sister and niece said they weren’t notified at the time and found out two days later. They said Derrick has a knee fracture, and it’s unclear how long she may remain in hospital.
“She’s very traumatized,” Boudreau said. “It’s going to be very difficult for her to get back on a train after this has happened.”
Sgt. Hampton said while there is no video from the train, cameras would capture the suspect getting on and off.
“At this point in time, we’re not appealing to the public in order to identify the suspect. We’re looking at other investigative means,” he said. “We don’t have any indication to suspect that this is an ongoing thing, or that this has occurred on multiple occasions.”
Derrick’s sister Margaret said an Indigenous liasion officer from the transit police visited her at the hospital.
“They gave her a smudge there, and did some prayers,” she said. “She said, ‘there must be a reason why she did this to me, she must be a very unhappy lady.’”
Boudreau and her mother said Derrick is also very friendly, and loves people.
“My aunt already forgives this lady that attacked her,” Boudreau said. “She prayed for her.”
Derrick’s family wants to let others know what happened, and they’re hoping the suspect is found.
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