Young victims of Oak Bay homicide were ‘lively, energetic and silly girls’

Spokesperson for the family has identified the dead as 6-year-old Chloe and 4-year-old Aubrey Berry

Sisters 6-year-old Chloe Berry and 4-year-old Aubrey Berry have been identified as the victims of the Christmas Day double homicide in Oak Bay.

The community is responding to the tragedy by offering support however they can: churches are opening their doors to mourners, residents are organizing food for first responders, Mayor Nils Jensen has announced a candlelight vigil on Willows Beach where the girls often played.

“I understand the family has asked for privacy so while it is very important that we support them, it is critical that we do so in a way that respects their wishes,” said Jensen.

The children’s mother Sarah Cotton is requesting privacy at this time asking close friend Trisha Lees to act as spokesperson for the family.

“Sarah has a couple of us that have been with her ever since, taking care of her as best we can,” said Lees. “We are very grateful for the remarkable outpouring of support from everywhere.”

Cotton is well-known in the community, having worked in communications at Tartan Group, BC Pension Corporation and BC Ferries – where she met Andrew Berry, the father of the two girls.

“She is very social and well-liked. Her girls were very much like her,” said Lees. “They were lively, energetic, and silly girls.”

Chloe was in Grade 1 at Christ Church Cathedral School and had recently fallen in love with horseback riding.

Aubrey was in her final year of preschool at St. Christopher’s Montessori School and Lees said she was just making that transition from toddler to little girl.

Both girls were artistic and loved to draw but were also balls of energy that enjoyed spending time at Willows Beach.

“There will be a service eventually. We are just starting to think about that,” said Lees.

On Christmas Day, the children 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 on Christmas afternoon but they never arrived. Cotton contacted the Oak Bay Police, who responded to Berry’s apartment where the bodies of the two girls as well as an injured man were found. The man was taken to hospital. Details on his injuries have not been released.

Cotton and Berry had spent years locked in a custody battle over the two girls.

In a May 2017 judgement, the judge decided that the two parents would share custody, although it was decided that Cotton would be allotted more time with the girls.

Cotton and Berry separated in in September 2013 and shared custody of the two girls.

The judge noted that “the Father is a loving Father who has much to offer his daughters” and that he was “not persuaded that the Father’s displays of poor judgment regarding the children have reached the level that the children should be deprived of significant parenting time with their Father.”

The judge did express concerns about Berry’s care of the girls. Those concerns included a failure “to ensure that the girls were using car seats and life-jackets properly, and that he left a child at a distance in a stroller in a public place.”

The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit is expected to be at the scene of the crime for the remainder of the week. The BC Coroners Service is investigating the deaths.

Related: Oak Bay Police find two bodies on Christmas Day


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

double homicideoak bayOak Bay double homicide

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A monument grows outside an apartment building on Beach Drive where two young girls were found dead Christmas Day. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

A monument grows outside an apartment building on Beach Drive where two young girls were found dead Christmas Day. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

A monument grows outside an apartment building on Beach Drive where two young girls were found dead Christmas Day. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Just Posted

Victoria’s 75,000 veggie plants ready to find a home

New gardeners line-up for Get Growing Victoria

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

VIDEO: Saanich police tackle man who refused to move off Trans-Canada Highway

At this point, it is unclear why the man refused to move

Three people facing mischief charges after protests at Premier John Horgan’s home

Special prosecutor was appointed to avoid real or perceived undue influence

No one injured in suspicious Victoria boat fire, say investigators

Victoria police and fire personnel called to blaze on waters near Selkirk Trestle May 22

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C. First Nation adopts Dr. Bonnie Henry, names her ‘one who is calm among us’

Gitxsan officially adopts the provincial health officer in a May 22 ceremony

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

BC Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Most Read