New charges of first degree murder have been levied against Jayson Gilbert and Michael Drynock, after autopsy results positively identified a body discovered in the Fraser River last month as that of missing man Branton Regner.
Williams Lake RCMP and the North District Major Crime Unit, working with the BC Coroners Service, made the announcement Thursday, confirming what many suspected following the discovery near the Sheep Creek Bridge on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, west of Williams Lake.
Regner, 34, was first reported missing following an incident on the Rudy Johnson Bridge on Friday, Aug. 9 2019, which also led to two counts of attempted murder and kidnapping being laid against Gilbert, 25, and Drynock, 23.
On Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019 the BC Prosecution Services formally charged Gilbert and Drynock with the first degree murder of Branton Regner, said Insp. Jeff Pelley, OIC Williams Lake RCMP detachment, who along with teams of officers have been working round the clock on the Rudy Johnson Bridge case as well as the homicide of Richard ‘Savage’ Duncan who was shot in his driveway in Williams Lake Aug. 6 and died in hospital.
No one has been charged in the homicide of Duncan, 43, at this time, however, Duncan’s death and the Rudy Johnson Bridge incident are believed to be connected.
“The rapid progress of the arrests and multiple charges involving these two accused are a direct result of the collaborative investigative effort between Williams Lake RCMP and the North District Major Crime,” Insp. Pelley said. “These investigations are ongoing and continue to be a priority within our community.”
Pelley said the investigations into the murder of Regner, as well as the murder of Duncan on Aug. 6, are ongoing. If anyone has information on either investigation, please contact the Williams Lake RCMP at 250-392-6211 or Crime Stoppers at 1 800-222-8477.
Gilbert and Drynock remain in custody and are scheduled to make their next court appearances on Sept. 25 in Williams Lake Provincial Court. They still each face one count each of attempted murder and kidnapping, as well as the new murder charge.
Publication bans were imposed on both cases shortly after they made their first court appearances.