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Updated: Police announce arrest of William Elliott
William Elliott has been arrested on two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Duncan women Karrie Ann Stone and Tyeshia Jones.
Elliott, 24, remains in police custody after his arrest on Friday. He is scheduled to appear in court later today.
RCMP announced the arrest of the Duncan man Saturday at Duncan Fire Hall.
Stone was 42 when she went missing on July 7, 2010. Her burnt remains were found in a wooded area of Glenora on July 12.
Jones was 18 when she went missing on Jan. 22, 2011. Her body was recovered from a wooded area off Indian Road in Duncan on Jan. 28.
Police had previously indicated the two homicides were not connected.
“This arrest is the result of thousands of investigative man-hours, hundreds of interviews, detailed forensic analysis and specialized investigative techniques,” said Supt. Jim Gresham, officer in charge of the B.C. RCMP Major Crime Section, during the press conference.
“As these two murder investigations converged, and a single suspect was identified, investigators worked around the clock to establish sufficient evidence leading to the arrest and charge of William Gordon Robert Elliott.”
Police arrested Elliott Friday without incident, and informed the families of Stone and Jones about the significant step in the investigations shortly afterward.
“This arrest brings the (families) one step closer to understanding what happened to their loved (ones), yet their painful journey is far from over,” Gresham said. “We remain committed to them as we have from the start, and thank them for the incredible strength, patience and understanding they have shown the team.”
Gresham also thanked the community for the support police have received during the investigation.
He noted the efforts of Search and Rescue teams, community leaders, and supporters of the families, the B.C. Coroners Service, and the hundreds of citizens who came forward to offer support and assistance.
"Throughout these investigations, we were mindful of the need to provide communities of the Cowichan Valley with as much information as we could in order to address public fear after these disturbing homicides," Gresham added. "We had to strike a balance between what could be said and what was required to absolutely protect and maintain the integrity of the investigations."
Police reiterated that questions about more specific aspects of the investigation and subsequent arrest cannot be answered at this time.
“As you know the journey for the family, the journey for the investigators, is far from over,” Chief Supt. Wayne Rideout explained. “These court processes go on for a lengthy period of time and it’s extremely important that we allow the legal process to continue in a manner that is fair, and that we don’t do anything that could be used to argue that we’ve obstructed that in any way.
“It becomes a challenging discussion in the immediate aftermath of an arrest to talk about this, because we’re fully aware of how much everybody’s interested in those details, particularly the family, and we know how important it is to the community, but there is a long road ahead and we have to make sure we follow the right process.”
Police say that while an arrest has been made, the investigations remain active.
However, Gresham said the possibility of more arrests related to the murders is "not something (police are) considering at this time."
Families of Karrie Ann Stone and Tyeshia Jones react to arrest
Speaking at the press conference Saturday Karrie Ann Stone's mother, Bev Stone, said learning of the arrest was bittersweet.
"Her passing in this way will never ever be out of my heart," Stone said, breaking down in tears. "She was my oldest daughter, and there are so many dreams that she had that are gone now — and my dreams for her as well."
Tyeshia Jones' mother, Mary Jim, was similarly emotional.
"I kept telling myself to be patient, the day will come," she said. "And it came yesterday."
Jim thanked the RCMP and her children Terrance, Aaliyah and LaTrell for their support.
"I just want to thank the community, also, for standing behind me through my hard times," she said. "You truly are medicine for me and my family. Thank you for your prayers, your love, your support."