ANAHIM LAKE, B.C. - Six people have been charged with offences ranging from first-degree murder to manslaughter following a double homicide in British Columbia's northern Interior on Boxing Day.
Two men were found dead late Friday night in a rural residence in the tiny community of Anahim Lake, located roughly 400 kilometres northwest of Vancouver. Officers responded to a report of shots fired.
The RCMP and the BC Coroners Service identified the victims Monday as Matthew Hennigar, 23, and Kalvin Andy, 22.
Cpl. Dave Tyreman said Everett O'Reilly, 27, was charged with first-degree murder, while second-degree murder charges were laid against Christian Craciun, 28; Andrew Jongbloets, 25; Serena Rhem, 26.
Lucille Mack, 33, and Stephen Mecham, 22, were each charged with manslaughter.
Investigators have released few details about what happened and they have not speculated on a potential motive.
Tyreman said it appears the victims knew their attackers, though he did not elaborate.
"The only information I have is that these people were known to each other," he said.
Tyreman said investigators are particularly interested in determining where O'Reilly, Jongbloets, Rhem and Craciun were in the hours following the killings.
"We're trying to track their whereabouts from the time of this incident, almost before midnight on the 26th, until the next morning when they were arrested around 10 a.m.," he said.
Anahim Lake, which is west of Williams Lake and east of Bella Coola, recorded fewer than 100 residents in the 2011 census, though more than 1,000 people live in the surrounding rural areas.
Deana Wood, owner of Anahim Lake Trading, a general store and gas station, said Hennigar was born and raised in the community. She said locals are shocked to learn of his death.
“Every once in a while you hear something and think, 'Oh, well, you know, maybe that was inevitable,' but everyone was like, 'Matthew? Really?'”
Wood said Hennigar had a reputation as an "all around good kid."
"I've actually had quite a few people say, 'Oh, Matthew would bring me my fire wood and come over and have a visit and do this for me and fix this me and I am really going to miss him,'" she said.
“He definitely wasn't into a gang. He definitely wasn't a drinker. I have a liquor store here and he was never one of my regular customers coming in and doing that kind of stuff. He had a common law wife. They had a one year old son. Mostly it was a complete shock."
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous story spelled Christian Craciun as Cracium.
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