An RCMP dive team was searching the Rossland reservoir Monday in hopes of finding evidence in connection to the homicide of Rossland resident Thomas Feeney.
Spokesman Cpl. Dave Tyreman said the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team was called in as a result of information obtained in the ongoing investigation.
Police have yet to share how the 75-year-old died in his home on June 5, 2014. Investigators believe the death occurred during a robbery, and they hope the renewed search will turn up evidence that may have been discarded after the homicide.
“It’s (an item) either related to the homicide or may be an item that was taken during the break and enter,” Tyreman said Monday.
“It could be something that was used in the homicide or something missing from the residence.”
The case, led by the Southeast District Major Crime Unit, is considered a “random incident” or a “crime of opportunity” against the man who was killed at his home on Feeney Road, named after his family.
“We don’t believe it was a targeted act, where they planned out to kill Mr. Feeney,” explained Tyreman. “It’s possible they were breaking in because there were some antiques or some items of interest that Mr. Feeney had collected.”
Among items taken from the property were five firearms, including a Pedersoli/Cimmaron Arms 1874 Sharps 45-70 rifle, which investigators have described as unique with an octagonal barrel and distinctive firing mechanism and sight. There was also an LCD television, a crossbow with a broken string and a set of .45 calibre reloading equipment reported as missing from the scene.
“In this case, it appears that somebody either broke into the residence or was in the residence and was confronted by him and at that point Mr. Feeney lost his life,” said Tyreman.
“It just doesn’t seem like it was a targeted incident,” he added. “There is no reason for anybody to target Mr. Feeney.”
The late Feeney was born and raised in Rossland. He was a father, grandfather and great-grandfather who loved to hunt and fish and enjoy the outdoors. His family immigrated from Ireland and made Rossland and its surrounding area their home for generations.
The investigation is very much active; Tyreman confirmed, and police are asking the public to reevaluate their memory because any detail could lead to solving this crime.
“An investigation is like a 100-piece jigsaw puzzle—each individual piece is meaningless by itself or may seem meaningless to some people, but when you put them all together it all fits in, and now we can see the big picture,” he said. “If anybody has any information that hasn’t been reported before, that may seem something minor such as a pick up driving by, please call us because it may seem meaningless to you, but it might be the last piece of the puzzle that we need.”
The public is encouraged to contact the Trail RCMP (250-364-2566) or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).