Police have made a DNA match to a male suspect and have released an old composite sketch of the man wanted in connection to the slaying of a B.C. teenager on Halloween night.
Taylor Van Diest, 18, was killed as she walked to meet friends in the city of Armstrong, B.C., Oct. 31.
RCMP said at a news conference Wednesday they had collected DNA from the scene of Van Diest's slaying and it matches DNA from a sexual assault case involving a Kelowna, B.C., escort in 2005.
The sketch is from a description of the man believed responsible for that attack.
The man's name is not known.
He is described as Caucasian, with a stocky build, short dark hair and prominent sideburns, but police cautioned that the man's appearance may have changed in the six years since the sketch was created.
He was believed to be 18 to 20 years old at the time of the 2005 assault and is likely a resident of the Okanagan region in B.C.'s southern Interior.
"Although we believe he is a resident of the Okanagan, he may have made an unplanned, sudden or unexplained departure from the area shortly after the murder on Halloween night of this year in Armstrong," Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said in a release. "We also believe that friends, family or associates of this man hold valuable information which will help solve these crimes."
Victim fought back
The man may have had unexplained scratches on his neck or arms sustained as Van Diest fought back during the attack on Van Diest, Moskaluk said.
Police believe the attack on Van Diest was random.
Armstrong Mayor Chris Pieper said he doesn't like to use the word "fear," but noted locals are cautious and nervous and a "cloud of uncertainty" is hovering over the town.
"You won't get over it. You just have to learn to deal with it," Pieper said.
Locals are more aware of their environment than before the killing, he added, and the community has changed.
Pieper urged people who may have information on the suspect's identity to call police tip lines or Crime Stoppers.
"Nobody will ever know who you are."