By Tim Petruk
AN arrest has been made in the murder of a teenaged girl who was found dead in Kamloops 13 months ago.
Damien Lawrence Wayne Taylor, 22, has been charged with one count of murder in relation to the death of his then-girlfriend, 16-year-old C.J. Fowler.
He was taken into custody by members of the Kamloops RCMP detachment’s serious-crime unit in Kelowna, where he had been residing, on Friday, Jan. 10, one day after a warrant had been issued for his arrest.
Fowler’s body was found on Dec. 5, 2012, just off a roadway in Guerin Creek, east of the Summit Connector.
She was in Kamloops visiting friends, having travelled by bus from her hometown of Terrace.
Investigators have not said how Fowler was killed.
The announcement of the arrest was made on Jan. 12 by Kamloops RCMP Supt. Brad Mueller, who read a prepared statement and did not take questions.
Fowler’s father, Glen Wilson, also read an emotional statement, flanked by Matilda Fowler, C.J.’s mother.
He said the two were in Kamloops this weekend to bless the location where Fowler’s body was located, but were then told by Mounties an arrest had been made.
“When we were told, me and Matilda actually both sighed at the same time — a sigh of relief, happiness,” Wilson said.
“Matilda actually wanted to jump, dance and scream, but she was afraid that the camera was going, the microphone was going in the room [at the Kamloops RCMP detachment].”
Wilson said the arrest brings some closure to Fowler’s family, which has struggled in the year since she was killed.
“We prayed day and night, before we went to bed and before we got up in the morning,” he said.
“Our prayers and thoughts have been answered Friday, when we were told. We’re just so overwhelmed at the work the Kamloops RCMP has done.”
In his statement, Mueller took issue with “social media” critics he said called out investigators for not working hard enough on Fowler’s case.
“We have kept C.J.’s family a part of this investigation to make sure they always knew we were there,” he said.
“Hopefully, those who were quick to castigate and criticize the RCMP . . . will now avail themselves to follow the truth and the facts of this case through the courts.”
Taylor has a brief criminal history, including a handful of convictions in Northern B.C.
He was charged with robbery following an incident in Vanderhoof on Jan. 24, 2010, and later convicted of the lesser charge of theft under $5,000 and placed on a one-year probation term.
In March 2012 he was jailed for 15 days after pleading guilty to three breach charges in Prince George.
Two months later, he pleaded guilty to another breach charge and two counts of possession of a controlled substance, all relating to incidents in Prince George.
He was handed a jail sentence totaling 34 days.
Police believe Taylor and Fowler had been involved in a dating relationship prior to Fowler’s murder, and that the two had travelled from Terrace to Kamloops together.
Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt. Grant Learned said Taylor was living in Terrace prior to Fowler’s murder but had since moved to Kelowna.
Taylor is scheduled to appear in Kamloops provincial court on Monday, Jan. 13.
Story courtesy of Kamloops This Week.