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Bonnie Allen on the Merritt killings

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Kelowna-based video journalist Bonnie Allen. (CBC)

Three young children are dead and the RCMP are looking for their father.

Merritt, a small city in B.C.'s interior, has been put in the spotlight as residents try to make sense of the killing in their community.

This is your chance to ask CBC News Vancouver at Six video journalist Bonnie Allen your questions about the killings in Merritt.

She has been covering the story since it started.

Click here to read Bonnie's answers.

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Comments: (4)

Todd Gilbert (Vancouver) wrote:

Q| I've not heard an explanation as to who was supervising the children just prior to the horrible attack? The oldest was only 10 I believe.

A|Police have confirmed the father of the children – Allan Dwayne Schoenborn – was caring for the children before their bodies were later reported dead by the mother. Police also indicate he had left the scene considerably earlier than the time police were called in.

Posted April 11, 2008 03:04 PM

Sarah Weaver (Salmon_Arm) wrote:

Q| I have not heard any description of a vehicle which the police might be searching for. This seems unusual. Did this man not have a vehicle? It would be helpful to the public to know more - eg is he on foot, hitchhiking? If there is a vehicle, what is its description? I have not even heard a description of the man himself - eg how tall? how heavy? etc.
A|You are correct. It is unusual to not have a vehicle description. In this case, it’s because the prime suspect Allan Schoenborn does not own a vehicle.

Police say he is also prohibited from driving, although he has been known to violate that restriction in the past. Investigators say there were no stolen vehicles in the area in the time surrounding the murders. They said he was likely traveling by foot with a large white dog. The only hint of a vehicle comes from neighbours who says he used a green pick-up truck to help the mother and children move into the mobile home at the beginning of December.

As for a physical description – please look through some of our news stories on the website for his photo. The 40 year old's most distinctive characteristics are a scar over his right eyebrow, a bald spot, and small stature: just 5 feet 4 inches and 130 pounds.

Posted April 11, 2008 07:49 AM

Jennifer Plisson (Campbell_River) wrote:

Q| There is a slew of questions, a few simple ones being; Were there any reports of screaming? How did neighbors report seeing the mother leave and return, but not the father flee? The biggest question I have is why were the initial reports of four bodies? Is a death going unreported? Why the conflicting reports?

I'm sure I wont be getting these answered, but it never hurts to ask.

A| Thanks Jennifer. I interviewed about a dozen neighbours who either live across the street or across the back fence. None of those people heard screaming. In fact, many people said they saw and heard nothing all morning Sunday UNTIL the mother returned home and the police cars came screaming around the corner.

One neighbour was widely reported as seeing the mother leave the home then return 10 minutes later to discover the bodies. Police have now eliminated that as a possibility. They say the mother was gone much longer than 10 minutes. They also say the children had been dead much longer than 10 minutes.

The initial reports of four bodies came from speculation amongst neighbours and one person claiming he heard it on a police scanner. The CBC did not report that information. I can’t speak for other media outlets as to whether they carried that information. I do not believe there is another death going unreported.

Conflicting reports are unfortunate, and personally, I believe some of the speculation grew out of lack of information from police in the first 21 hours. Sunday evening, a police spokeswoman said there was no search for a suspect, no one in custody, and no threat to the community. That led many people to speculate that the killer must be dead. Not true.

Posted April 11, 2008 01:50 AM

Don Wert (Rossland_BC) wrote:

Q| Why did the RCMP have to go to the home in question for the Child Welfare services?

A| The Ministry of Children and Family Services made three calls to Darcie Clarke's trailer home on Tulemon in the past three and a half months (on Dec. 23, 25 and Apr. 1).

The ministry can request a police presence when it's concerned about violence or danger, and the police say that can be a normal routine to "keep the peace."

Neighbours tell us that Child Welfare workers told them to report anytime they saw Allan Dwayne Schoenborn in the home.

During the first two calls, on Dec. 23 and 25, police say Schoenborn was not there. However, some neighbours insist he was and the mother may have covered for him.

The third time was April 1st, and that's when police confirm he was in the residence, and they arrested him for breaching an outstanding warrant.

But police say, at the time, there was no indication Clarke feared Schoenborn, or that he was a danger to her or the children.

To be clear, Allan Schoenborn was allowed to be in the family’s residence and there were no restrictions on him having contact with his children.

That said, neighbours say MCF workers had asked them to report anytime Schoenborn was in the residence because they believed he was "dangerous to the mother."

Darcie Clarke had a modified restraining order against him with certain conditions, such as no contact within 12 hours of drinking.

Posted April 10, 2008 05:18 PM

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