Since the discovery of a man’s body in Salt Spring Island’s Fulford Creek on Oct. 10, multiple police units and the BC Coroners Service have worked to determine a cause of death and establish whether or not foul play was involved.
Based on the findings of both the BC Coroners Service and the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit (VIIMCU), investigators now believe that the death of 45-year-old Salt Spring Island resident Joseph Patrick
Bernie, involved foul play.
VIIMCU, along with local and regional RCMP resources, are continuing their investigation. Specific details, including the cause of death, will not be released to protect the integrity of the ongoing criminal investigation.
“We’re conscious of the impact this death has had on Joseph’s family, and the broader community on Salt Spring Island," said Sgt. George Jenkins, Detachment Commander of the Salt Spring RCMP. “Specialized major crime investigators are working towards identifying the person or persons involved, and bring them into our custody. We encourage anyone with information to contact us.”
While this investigation remains very active, to date, police have found no evidence to suggest public safety is at risk.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Joseph Patrick Bernie in
the days leading up to Oct. 10, or other information which may be of assistance to investigators, is asked to contact the Salt Spring RCMP at 250-537-5555, or anonymously through Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
On Oct. 10, at approximately 6:15 p.m., a recreational fisherman reported finding the body of an adult male in the waters of a creek near Fulford Harbour.
Salt Spring RCMP attended the scene and located the man's body on the south bank of the creek. The BC Coroners Service was notified, and attended. A cause of death was not immediately apparent, prompting a call for additional police resources from the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit (VIIMCU). Additional investigative work is underway by the Salt Spring RCMP, VIIMCU and the BC Coroners Service, therefore, the area near the old Fulford Inn where the man's body was located, remains behind police tape.
Given that the man's cause of death is not yet known, we are not yet able to confirm whether foul play was involved, said Sgt. George Jenkins, Detachment Commander of the Salt Spring Island RCMP. While there are several unanswered questions which remain, we have found no evidence to suggest that the safety of Island residents is negatively impacted by this discovery
Based on evidence recovered through this investigation, a preliminary identification of the deceased has been made. His next of kin have been notified, however, his identity will not be released pending additional work by the BC Coroners Service.
Anyone with information which may be of assistance to investigators is asked to contact the Salt Spring RCMP at 250-537-5555, or anonymously through Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).