It’s been nearly 10 years since Taylor Van Diest was found fatally battered on a rural Armstrong path, but there are lingering questions about what happened that day.
While the teen’s killer was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years for the Halloween 2011 murder, one of the Mounties who was first on scene of the grisly crime launched a civil suit in the years that followed that has yet to be resolved.
Former Const. Milan Ilic alleged that he was harassed and intimidated in the aftermath of the high-profile trial looking into the murder.
On Tuesday, the long-awaited four-week trial was set to begin, five years after the civil suit was filed. It was, however, delayed.
“It was definitely upsetting to learn that, because we were looking forward to our, not a day in court, but a whole month. And it was going to be a great opportunity to expose the internal RCMP culture,” Michelle Ilic, Milan’s wife, said.
Read more: Okanagan mountie accuses RCMP of harassment
“This is going to be a prime example of why the RCMP should not be investigating themselves. And that the system is flawed. It’s actually broken, and the members who are responsible for what we are alleging need to be held accountable. And that’s exactly what we were trying to do by calling them to court.“
In the notice of civil claim, Ilic said he learned he was under investigation in April 2014, accused of not telling the truth while testifying in the murder trial.
“He was the first officer at the scene and he took his jacket off and placed it over the victim, in an effort to keep her warm,” according to the court document that lays out the suit.
During the murder trial, more than two years after he found Van Diest, allegations surfaced that Ilic had cast aside a liquor bottle that night.
“In his testimony, the plaintiff denied having a bottle of liquor or discarding a bottle of liquor at the scene on the night of the murder. He did testify that he had discarded a box of pens he had in his jacket,” the claim read.
Ilic’s claim alleges he faced questions from other officers about “whether (he) was drinking that night, whether he had a liquor bottle in his possession, and whether he discarded a liquor bottle at the scene.”
He claims, in the suit, to have told the other officers none of this was true. According to the claim, an internal investigation was launched against him the following month.
Ilic has since left the police force, claiming officers harassed and intimidated him. His wife estimates they’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in a prolonged legal battle against the government.
She will be testifying at the trial and looks forward to the matter being resolved.
Not more than another witness who is being called to testify.
Marie Van Diest, Taylor’s mother, said that learning of the latest trial delay was like adding salt to an open wound that she’s struggling to heal. She’s expected to be called to the stand.