Police are still searching for a suspect in the death of Taylor Van Diest

Police are still searching for a suspect in the death of Taylor Van Diest

Police still searching for Armstrong homicide suspect

Teen's death yields tips from the public and a warning from police

Police still do not have any suspects in the death of Taylor Van Diest, 18, of Armstrong.

The teen died Monday night in Kelowna General Hospital, hours after family and friends discovered her shortly before 9 p.m. unconscious near the railway tracks that cross Rosedale Avenue.

Her death is being treated as a homicide.

“Our officers are continuing to follow up with residents of Armstrong where this senseless crime took place,” said Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk at a news conference Wednesday.

Molendyk said police have been receiving helpful information from the public but continue to appeal to everyone in Armstrong who may have had contact with Van Diest during the day, Oct. 31, from noon until 8:45 p.m. tto call either the Armstrong or Vernon detachments.

“Anybody who saw her, anybody who received any type of message, whether it was an e-mail, a text message, a phone call, anything would be helpful,” said Molendyk, who wanted to assure residents of Armstrong that a dedicated team of more than 30 experienced police officers is focused on identifying the person or persons responsible for the crime.

“We are aware this tragic event is very prominent on the minds of everyone in Armstrong,” said Molendyk.

Police are asking everyone in Armstrong to consider taking a few extra steps to ensure their personal safety in the wake of the tragedy.

Travel in a group, ask parents or friends for a ride. Travel in areas of the community that have good visibility. Let family or friends know where you are going and when you expect to arrive. If you have a cell phone, carry it. Report any suspicious activity right away.

“We want the community of Armstrong to get back to being as normal as they can,” said Molendyk. “There is a concern, yes. We have an unsolved homicide. We’re aware of that, we know the public’s aware of that.”

An autopsy will be conducted in Kamloops on Thursday to help determine a cause of death.

It is known that Van Diest was supposed to be at a pre-determined location Monday at a certain time, and when she didn’t arrive, her family called police at around 7:30 p.m.

Police have confirmed that a cell phone, believed to have belonged to Van Diest, was found by an individual in the street.