New Westminster – The officers who helped solve a 20-year-old New Westminster sexual assault case have been recognized by the provincial government at the Police Honours Night.
The annual awards, held Thursday night in Victoria, recognize outstanding law enforcement officers for their bravery and dedication. This year, 106 officers from across the province received awards, including six New Westminster police officers who received the Meritorious Service Award.
“We are very proud that our members and BC RCMP partners brought closure to this cold case,” stated Deputy Chief Constable Dave Jansen. “The city of New Westminster is well served by these officers.”
The New Westminster officers included acting Staff Sgt. Dwayne Raymond, Sgt. Josh Hooker, acting Sgt. Trevor Robinson, Det. Const. Chris Cecil, Sgt. Correa and Cpl. Wickham. These officers, along with Const. James Wertz from Coquitlam RCMP, received their award for closing a cold case.
The case originated in 1996 when Dorothy Darnel, a 79 year old grandmother was viciously attacked in her home as she slept. Her attacker beat her so severely that her cheekbone was shattered and she would lose sight in one eye. After Dorothy Darnel lost consciousness the attacker sexually assaulted her.
Original investigators recovered forensic evidence at the scene and followed up on the hundreds of tips that came in from across the province. An artist’s rendition of the suspect was circulated throughout the media and an appeal for witnesses to come forward was issued. Additionally, a $12,000 reward was offered by the New Westminster Police Board and a private donor for the arrest and charge of the suspect responsible.
In March of 2016, there was a DNA link between a suspect from 1996 and a recent break and enter in Coquitlam. Our Major Crime Unit investigated the new evidence and have since arrested and charged James Gray, a 48 year old male from Vancouver. In May 2017, the charges were announced against 48-year-old James Gray of Vancouver.
The New Westminster Police Department would like encourage anyone who knows something about an unsolved case to call our non-emergency line at 604-525-5411.