Mysteries keep piling up in Colwood slaying case
Councillor charged, two men arrested, homeowner vanishes
Police pored through a Colwood home yesterday looking for clues into a deepening mystery that has left a man dead, a homeowner missing and a municipal politician charged with murder.
Detectives and forensic analysts spent much of the day examining an area behind a carport at a drab two-level home at 3351 Betula Pl., in the Triangle Mountain neighbourhood.
The mystery centres on how Keith Taylor, a 33-year-old man with a long criminal history of drug, assault and weapons offences, went from spending an evening with friends at the house around 6 p.m. Friday to lying lifeless on the asphalt outside the West Shore RCMP station an hour later.
Police have charged Ken Brotherston, a two-term councillor from the rural municipality of Highlands, with first-degree murder in connection with the death. Taylor allegedly beat up one of Brotherston’s adult sons last year.
Late Sunday, RCMP also arrested two other men in connection with the death but did not release their names. Although RCMP had to decide whether to charge the two men by last evening, spokeswoman Const. Tasha Adams said police would not comment until today at the earliest.
Meanwhile, Dana Downey, the man who owns the home that has become a crime scene, hasn’t been heard from since Friday, said his 14-year-old daughter Layla Downey.
“I’m really worried,” she said yesterday, after visiting the house with her school guidance counsellor to look for her dad. “I really want to talk to him and see where he is and stuff, [to] see what’s going on, because I have no idea.”
Downey owns the house, but other people stay there with him occasionally, Layla said. Her father is friends with some members of the Brotherston family, she said.
Neighbours said the home is a nuisance because so many vehicles arrive at all times of the night and stay only a few minutes.
Layla has been living in the house part-time, along with a cast of revolving characters who know her father.
“I feel completely comfortable here as long as my dad is here with me,” she said. “I know for sure he can keep me safe. They are not bad people up here. They are all really nice to me.”
Robert Plotnikoff, who knows Downey, said the missing man hasn’t “been right” since he was attacked by a Calgary teenager at an ATM machine on Sooke Road in 1999.
His daughter witnessed the attack. The attacker was sentenced to 15 months in a youth facility.
“[Downey] had some brain damage and was always being taken advantage of after that,” Plotnikoff said. “He was very trusting, and a lot of shady characters would abuse that. He told me once people keep taking advantage of him, wished he could get his life together. I said, ‘Yeah, but the road goes both ways.’ ”
West Shore RCMP would not comment on Downey’s disappearance or how they think it fits into their investigation.
Neighbours reported hearing crying and yelling from the Betula Place home after 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Around 7 p.m., a black pickup truck roared into the parking lot of the West Shore RCMP station, four kilometres from the home, carrying Taylor’s body. Police officers tried to revive Taylor, a witness told CHEK NEWS.
RCMP have not said who drove the truck; however, Brotherston is known to own a black truck.
Taylor was pronounced dead at the scene. Coroner Barb McLintock said an autopsy will be needed to conclusively determine the cause of death.
The forensic autopsy on Taylor’s body is scheduled for today in Vancouver.