Montrose man spreads word through social media in hopes of nabbing fugitive

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Joel Hutchinson should contact the Trail RCMP.

A Montrose man is taking a search for a wanted man into his own hands in hopes of finding more out about the death of his daughter.

Mike Walsh is spreading the word of missing man Joel Hutchinson, who is currently wanted on British Columbia and Alberta-wide un-endorsed warrants of arrest for one count of breaching his conditions and two counts for failing to appear in Rossland court in April of last year.

The 30-year old is five foot 10, 146 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on his whereabouts should contact Cst. Jason Zilkie or Sgt. Mike Wicentowich at the Trail detachment (250-364-2566).

“Joel Hutchinson may be armed and should be considered dangerous,” reports Sgt. Wicentowich of the Kootenay Boundary Regional General Investigation Section.

“Please do not approach him. Please report any sightings or his whereabouts to your local police detachment.”

Hutchinson fled the Trail area before his court date, in which he was facing several firearms-related charges that stem from an incident on July 20, 2014, on Faulkner Road near Fruitvale.

“This matter is still before the courts, and I unfortunately cannot provide any further detail about the specifics of the investigation,” adds Wicentowich.

Since this spring, the general investigation section has been actively trying to locate Hutchinson through social media and so has Walsh, whowants to uncover more on his daughter Aysia Peters’ death.

The 17-year-old youth was “found to have life-threatening injuries and was transported by ambulance to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail” where she was pronounced dead, police reported. Hutchinson was taken into custody by police at that time for an unrelated event.

Walsh is actively posting photos and information on Hutchinson via Facebook, where his cause has attracted widespread attention. As of Tuesday, his efforts had received 246,000 shares and 22,000 comments. He’s read each one.

“After my daughter died I said, ‘I don’t want this to happen to someone else again,’” he told the Trail Times. “I’ve lost my daughter, my only child … if something can come out of this that’s positive, that’s what I want.”

Walsh remembers Aysia as his innocent “little girl.” When she turned 17 years old, she moved out of her house and into hiding with Hutchinson.

“Like I told the police, I don’t care who pulled the trigger, when my daughter came here three days prior to her death, I didn’t even recognize her,” he said.

She had lost about 40 pounds and was scared, he recalled.

“I looked at this girl, I looked at her and looked at her and thought who are you and I said, ‘Aysia … ? Give me a hug.’ She said, ‘don’t you touch me.’ I said, ‘I’m your dad,’ and she fell into my arms and broke into tears.”

She stayed with him for five hours that day before she wanted to go back to Hutchinson.

“The last time I saw her was in the hospital, and she was in the hospital bed with a bullet through her head,” he said. “That was the last time.”

The general investigative section and Crime Reduction Unit, along with the Nelson Forensic Investigation Section, investigated the cause of her death though nothing has been publicized at this time since the incident is still in the court system.

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