Three bodies found, one man injured in rural area on Vancouver Island: RCMP

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QUALICUM BEACH, B.C. — A local politician says the place where three bodies and an injured man were found on Vancouver Island is a well-known recreational area where people ride off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.

Leanne Salter, who represents the area for the Nanaimo Regional District, said Monday the rural area has also become home to some people who have been living there in recreational vehicles.

"I'm so concerned," said Salter. "I mean, I feel for the families of those folks. It's shocking really that something like that would happen out there. In our area, it's just a very unusual occurrence."

Oceanside RCMP said three adults are dead and a man was in hospital in stable condition. Police provided few details on what happened, but described it as an incident between people well known to each other.

The RCMP said Monday they believe other people, who remain at large, are associated with what occurred, but "early indications are that this is a targeted incident between people who know each other and the general public is not at risk."

The Mounties said they were called to a rural area near Qualicum Beach, about 50 kilometres northwest of Nanaimo, when a person riding an off-road motorcycle found an unresponsive man late Sunday afternoon.

Cpl. Jesse Foreman said in a statement first responders confirmed that the man was dead and nearby they found two bodies in a burned-out travel trailer.

In another trailer, police said they discovered a man who had been shot. He was listed in stable condition after being airlifted to hospital.

Salter said the Melrose Forest Service Road that runs between Whiskey Creek and Qualicum Beach is popular with motorcyclists and ATV operators because of its relative remoteness and its many trails into the wilderness.

She said people have also been living there.

"All I know is that they had some RVs out there," said Salter. "They were living out there in their RVs."

She said she did not know the victims and could not identify them.

Much of the area is Crown land and is maintained by the Vancouver Island Dirt Riders Association, whose members act as stewards, said association president Andrew Graham, adding that there is some private forest company land in the area.

He said two trailers have been in the area for several months.

"Our club is constantly reporting illegal dumping and also had reported the squatters," Graham said in a statement.

Police said they are not releasing the names of those who died at this time. The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit is conducting the investigation.

"As this investigation is in its infancy, there are many questions that remain unanswered," Foreman says in the statement.

The BC Coroners Service is also investigating the deaths but provided no other details on Monday.

— By Dirk Meissner in Victoria

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2020.

The Canadian Press