A gay man at a remote hot springs found himself begging for his life in the face of a vicious beating on Dec 29, RCMP in Nakusp, BC, say.
“Police believe that the motive for this crime was one of hate and ignorance relating to the victim’s sexual orientation and are urging anyone with information to come forward,” says Cpl Bryson Hill in a statement.
Hill says two gay men on a cross-country skiing trip were relaxing in the hot pools at the St Leon’s Hot Springs, 25 kilometres north of Nakusp, 762 kilometres by road from Vancouver, when they met a man who identified himself as “Terry.”
The man was accompanied by another man and a woman.
Hill says at some point in the conversation Terry found out the men were gay.
“Shortly after, Terry got out of the hot pool and allegedly stated to his friends that he was going to kill the two men,” Hill says.
The corporal says the victim’s partner got out of the pool and ran into a bush to hide, leaving the victim alone to beg for mercy as he was viciously beaten then left in the snow.
“The victim suffered cuts and bruising to most of his body and a large cut over the bridge of his nose,” Hill says, adding the man was not hospitalized.
“The physical part was tough and he got beat up pretty good, but the tough part will be emotional,” Hill says. “One can only imagine what it’s like to be beaten up in the forest and be left in the snow.”
“His partner was able to help him back to the pool after the suspect and his two friends left on snowmobiles,” Hill continues, noting the attack was unprovoked.
The victim is from the United States, while his partner is from Burnaby, Hill says.
Hill told Xtra police had hoped to find the suspect without having to sacrifice the victims’ privacy by going public.
Police have not yet identified a suspect in the case but believe Terry is from Calgary.
The suspect is described as a Caucasian male, approximately six feet tall and 44 years of age. He has a stocky build with defined muscles and a short flattop hairstyle. He also has a tattoo of a silhouette of a bird on his chest, approximately two inches in diameter.
Nakusp is in a region of BC’s West Kootenay where many US draft dodgers settled in the 1960s. It is regarded as a tolerant area and is not far from Nelson, which has a thriving gay community.
“This is not the norm around here,” Hill says. “It’s just peaceful here. Everybody seems to get along. It’s shocking for us for sure.”
The hot springs are not developed but consist of a pool in a glade of trees off a forest road.
RCMP are asking anyone with any information on the suspect or the incident to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).