Community awaits answers as no charges yet laid in Oak Bay double homicide

Police are ‘continuing to work to provide answers and understand how events unfolded’

The police tape is gone from the scene of the Christmas Day double homicide in Oak Bay but the pile of flowers for Chloe, 6, and Aubrey Berry, 4, continues to grow. The community waits for answers as the investigation proceeds, but no charges have yet been laid.

The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit (VIIMCU) who took over the investigation has released few details, the last press release citing the Federal Privacy Act as the reason for the silence. The Act prevents them from releasing names and details of those involved unless charges have been laid.

“At this time there are no updates to provide, however, this investigation remains of the highest priority,” said Cpl. Tammy Douglas on Tuesday (Jan. 3). “We are continuing to work to provide answers and understand how events unfolded. We will continue to serve to the best of our abilities and will provide updates where we are able as the investigation proceeds.”

On Christmas Day, Chloe and Aubrey were in the care of their father at his apartment on the corner of Beach Drive and Goodwin Street. The children were supposed to go home to their mother’s house on Christmas afternoon but they never arrived. Their mother Sarah Cotton contacted the Oak Bay Police, who responded to Berry’s apartment where the bodies of the two girls were found. An injured man, believed to be the father but not yet confirmed by police, was found with them and was taken to hospital. Details on his injuries have not been released.

The Oak Bay community has been rocked by the tragedy. In its wake, churches opened their doors to mourners, and professionals offer advice on how to talk to children affected by the tragedy.

The community has sought strength from each other and displayed an “incredible show of support” for the sisters’ mom, Sarah Cotton, when an estimated 2,000 people gathered for a candlelight vigil at Willows Beach on Saturday (Dec. 30) to honour the lives of Chloe and Aubrey.

The community also showed love and support for first responders that had to work the Christmas Day tragedy. A fund was set up to nourish them through this difficult time.

“It was kind of a grassroots idea that was bred from many community members that we were concerned and caring about the police, fire and ambulance that had to attend and see those little girls,” said Oak Bay resident and organizer Sarah Johnston. “We decided to create a fund that the community could donate to, and have food sent to police and fire every day for a week or so while they’re dealing with the immediate interim when they might forget to take care of themselves, which is what first responders do.”

In addition to the food, the fund also raised $1,400 in cash. Upon receiving the money from the community, Oak Bay Police Department and Oak Bay Fire Department passed it on to the 3rd Victoria Sparks where Chloe attended.

“Two of our finest officers just presented to the Sparks group a couple weeks ago and they met Chloe. The 3rd Victoria Sparks are a great organization who are helping develop our community’s young girls into outstanding leaders,” said Oak Bay Police on social media. “Thanks again everybody. You can know that your donation not only helped your local Police and Fire Dept, but will now go on to help many local young girls.”

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