DNA found on a mocking and anonymous April letter might provide the key to identifying a pipeline bomber in northeastern B.C., police say.
There have been six bombings in the Dawson Creek area since October 2008, all aimed at Encana Corp. wellheads or pipelines.
The April letter, one of four in total, was sent to the Dawson Creek Daily News and warned Encana that the bombing "time out is over."
The RCMP sent the letter for forensic analysis and now say someone's DNA was found, but would not specify if the genetic material was on the letter or the envelope.
Investigators hope it leads to the author of the letter, Dawson Creek RCMP Staff Sgt. Darren Traichevich said Thursday.
Earlier this year, some people in the area around the bombings complained that the RCMP was pressing them to provide DNA and fingerprint samples.
Traichevich said the bombings and the letter are two separate investigations, and for now, his detachment is only concerned about finding the identity of the author.
RCMP officers at the force's Vancouver headquarters are leading the hunt to find the bomber.
"I want to make sure that we're not associating one with the other, although there seems to be a logical conclusion," Traichevich said.
The bombings terrorized residents of the area. Some of the explosions were set off just a few hundred metres from the nearest homes, but no one has been hurt.
Threat not acted on
The April letter made several threats and warned a "long hot summer is coming," but summer came and went without any more bombings or letters.
The last bombing was in June 2009.
This letter was typed, while the three previous threatening letters were handwritten. Police already determined one of the earlier letters was a hoax.
But Traichevich said investigators still haven't been able to confirm the April letter and the other two are connected.
"So we're looking at this in isolation in the hope that it does lead into something larger down the road."
$1 million reward
Encana has put up a $1-million reward for any information that leads to an arrest in the series of bombings, but it too has failed to generate solid leads.
In January, anti-oilpatch activist Wiebo Ludwig was briefly arrested in connection to the pipeline bombings. Dozens of officers swept through his Alberta farm.
Police didn't say what led to Ludwig's arrest and no charges were laid. Ludwig was convicted in 2001 of bombing sour gas wells in Alberta and was sentenced to 28 months in prison.
While there hasn't been a bombing in more than a year, Traichevich said the Dawson Creek RCMP detachment remains concerned.
"We're still asking that [residents] be vigilant as well," he said.
During and after the bombings, he said police stepped up patrols, and put more money and resources into policing.
"I think it paid off in showing a sense of security for the community," Traichevich said.