Leonard Dyck’s family says ‘there’s still a hole’ 4 years after B.C. manhunt for killers

Click to play video: 'Family of B.C. murder victim remembers Leonard Dyck as ‘gentle soul,’ family man'
Family of B.C. murder victim remembers Leonard Dyck as ‘gentle soul,’ family man
WATCH — Family of B.C. murder victim remembers Leonard Dyck as ‘gentle soul,’ family man – Aug 8, 2019

Leonard Dyck had a habit of not texting his family when travelling.

But in July 2019, the 64-year-old Vancouver resident finally broke that trend.

“This was the first trip where I was able to convince him to text us every day if he could, because normally he was never letting us know where he was,” said his wife, Helen Dyck.

“So, this time I said, ‘Text us,’ and so he did. He actually texted us.”

Those texts – his first to his family on one of his many solo trips – would happen to be his last.

Four years since Leonard’s murder in northern British Columbia – one of three victims that resulted in one of the largest police manhunts in Canadian history – his family is still left with many unanswered questions.

Story continues below advertisement

For the first time since his tragic death, Helen and her sons, Philip and Ben Dyck, are speaking out about the killings and the police response in The Manhunt for Crime Beat, a Global TV show probing Canada’s most infamous criminal cases.

Leonard Dyck seen with his sister, Doris, in 1989. Dyck family

Leonard, a botany lecturer at the University of British Columbia, left his home on July 16 in his silver Toyota RAV4 to go on one of his typical outdoor research trips.

“He was really interested in seeing the new Nisga’a Highway … and then go up to Stewart (B.C.) and see the grizzly bears that are in Hyder (Alaska) … up to Dease Lake and do the loop and come back,” Helen said.

“I was hoping to go, but I was too tired, and normally he would go with one of the boys.… This is the first trip he went on his own in years. I’m so glad that he was on his own for that.… I gave him a hug and a kiss, and I was like, ‘Be safe.’”

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Northern murder victim identified as Leonard Dyck'
Northern murder victim identified as Leonard Dyck

The last text Helen got from Leonard was that he had seen the grizzly bears, and that he was leaving Stewart.

“We knew he was out of cellphone range service. It was a weekend. We had a gas purchase on the credit card, so I knew where he was when he got that,” Helen said.

“And then there was silence.”

Leonard Dyck seen heading off on a backpacking trip in 1980. Dyck family

Leonard’s gas purchase was made on July 18 at 7:46 p.m., RCMP said. His body was discovered roughly 20 kilometres away from the store near Dease Lake around 8:30 a.m. on July 19.

Story continues below advertisement

It would be three days until RCMP released a composite sketch of Leonard to identify him – three days for Helen to discover her husband was dead.

And three days the killers had ahead of police to vanish.

“For me, the biggest question around the whole thing was what took them so long between when they found the body to actually release that (sketch)? If I had known the day of, I could have told them, ‘Look, you’re looking for this car, or you’re looking for’ … you know?” Helen said.

“It took three days, and then we had two hours in which to kind of contact everybody and tell them Len was dead before they announced it on the news, so that time was quite tense.”

'There's always going to be a hole'

The Dycks also reflected on how they are coping with the grief of their loss – and what they want the families of Leonard’s killers to know.

Story continues below advertisement

“The families should not feel guilt for the way they raised their boys. It has nothing to do with that,” Helen said.

“It’s those boys decision to take lives and why they decided to do that, it isn’t important. What’s important was that they did it. And I feel they’ll face the consequences of that. I think they did at the end.”

Leonard Dyck is seen here in this undated file photo.
Leonard Dyck is seen here in this undated file photo. Courtesy of B.C. RCMP

For Ben, the loss still cuts deep when he hears music his father would love – it was a passion they both shared, along with Leonard’s other loves of pen and ink drawings, and his fascination with studying seaweed.

“There’s still a hole, and I think there’s always going to be a hole,” Philip added.

“You have to walk around it, but it’s always there.”

Story continues below advertisement

Catch the full interview on The Manhunt Part 1 on Global TV on Friday, April 14 at 10 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Pacific. The Manhunt Part 2 airs on Friday, April 21 at 10 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Pacific.

Sponsored content