Fear protected Squamish man for more than four years
On June 21, at 12:30 p.m., Squamish RCMP officers arrested 25-year-old Ryan Aldridge for the 1997 New Years Eve murder of Squamish lawyer and father of two Bob McIntosh.
Aldridge was remanded into custody until his court appearance on Monday, June 24, where he was formally charged with manslaughter. He was then released on his own recognizance, with the stipulation that he would have to pay $3,000 if he missed his next court appearance on July 31.
RCMP say additional charges may be laid against Aldridge and others who were at the New Years Eve party where McIntosh was killed.
There were 150 youths at the party but for four and a half years nobody was willing to come forward and discuss what happened to McIntosh.
The RCMP likened the lack of co-operation to a "code of silence" where witnesses refused to talk, many out of fear for their own safety.
On that New Years eve, McIntosh, 40, was having a quiet evening at home with his family and a few friends. He had agreed to check on a party at the house of a friend, Dr. Richard Cudmore, that was being thrown by 19-year-old James Cudmore while his parents vacationed in Mexico.
A friend came with him to the house, where the two were separated. The friend stayed downstairs and McIntosh went upstairs. He never came down.
According to the RCMP, McIntosh was repeatedly hit or kicked in the head in one of the bedrooms, in front of several witnesses.
Five days after McIntoshs death, the RCMP charged Squamish resident Ryan McMillan with manslaughter. That charge was stayed by the police ninth month later as witnesses changed their stories and untruths emerged.
According to McIntoshs widow, Katy Hutchinson, the news that someone had been arrested was both good and bed.
"The RCMP called me to let me know that someone was arrested. It does give you a sense of relief, but it also brings it all back," said Hutchinson.
Hutchinson moved back to her home town of Victoria shortly after the murder and has since remarried, to lawyer Mike Hutchinson. While the phone call on Friday came as a surprise, she always had faith that the day would come.
"I dont think its humanly possible to hold a secret like that forever. It certainly would be a dysfunctional way to go about things," she said.
Her twins, now nine years old, were also relieved.
"Theyre absolutely old enough to know whats going on, and this makes it easier to explain to them that when you do something wrong you face the consequences of your actions. Theyre seeing that. I cant explain the delay to them, but I can explain that the RCMP did a fantastic job, staying with it, and going where they needed to be," she said.