Yesterday evening at about 6:30pm, multiple 911 calls were received at the Saanich Police Communications Centre from the 1700 block of De Souza place in Saanich. The calls were prompted by a woman’s screams and calls for help.
Initial information from callers revealed some kind of altercation at the roadside and the presence of a white UHaul van. The first arriving officer noticed a white van fleeing the area with the side door open. The van suddenly accelerated directly at the officer’s vehicle forcing him to take evasive action. In the time it took to turn the police vehicle around, the van was lost to the officer.
Investigators arriving at the scene confirmed that a 17 year old female had been the victim of an abduction attempt. The attempt was witnessed by others and a second 17 year old female intervened and was assaulted in the process. The victim managed to escape after being pushed into the waiting van. The suspect fled after hearing police sirens approaching the area.
Luckily, a license plate had been obtained by a witness at the scene prior to the van departing. With that information, the assistance of region wide departments, the public, cab companies, BC Transit and BC Ferries was requested. The van was later located by an officer in the 1800 block of Fairburn avenue in Saanich.
As a result of the license plate, investigators quickly tracked the vehicle to a local UHaul outlet. This led to the identification of a potential suspect. This suspect was located just before 11pm near the intersection of Hillside avenue and Cedar Hill road. The 34 year old Saanich resident remains in police custody at this time.
The investigation continues today with approximately 12 investigators involved. These include members of the Major Crimes Unit, Patrol officers and Forensics Technicians.
The victim was unhurt but obviously traumatized. She is being supported by friends and family. The second 17 year old who intervened sustained a laceration type injury that required stitching. She was taken to hospital and released overnight.