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Convicted murderer of Maple Ridge mom granted leave to treatment centre

Teen killer, now 37, gets unescorted temporary absence on Vancouver Island
Colleen Findlay’s killer, Jeremy Wade Vojkovic, has been allowed a unescorted temporary absence from prison, to attend a Vancouver Island facility. (Pixabay)

WARNING: This story describes graphic details readers may find disturbing.

A man who sexually assaulted and murdered a Maple Ridge mother when he was a teenager in 2002 has been granted an unescorted temporary absence (UTA) by the Parole Board of Canada.

Jeremy Wade Vojkovic was 15 when he killed Colleen Findlay at her family’s rural property. He had tied her up, cut her throat, then doused her body and home with gasoline and set it alight. He drove away in her vehicle, and police found him with it later that day, drinking and socializing with friends.

He was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, for crimes the judge described as “unspeakably evil.”

Now 37, Vojkovic has applied for a 60-day UTA so he can attend a residential drug and alcohol treatment program at a facility on Vancouver Island.

Findlay’s relatives, who still live in Maple Ridge, have spoken against his release in the past, relating the impact of his crime, and concern for community safety if he is released. They include the late woman’s husband, Dr. Jim Findlay, a local dentist.

Vojkovic was granted day parole in June 2022, but it was revoked on Jan. 31 of 2023 after he violated parole conditions that included not using drugs or alcohol, not being in the company of people using drugs and alcohol, and based on his conduct in a new relationship with a woman – which included not using his real name.

READ ALSO: Parole revoked for killer of Maple Ridge mother

The written parole board decision of Jan. 23, 2024, notes his case management team says the treatment on Vancouver Island will allow him to address substance abuse issues, and help him acclimatize back in the community under strict supervision, to assist in gradual reintegration into society.

The decision says he has a high level of accountability and motivation, and medium reintegration potential. In May, he completed a Institutional Sex Offender Maintenance program, and the facilitator said he has demonstrated an ability to manage risk areas in a medium security institution, but continues to struggle in less supervised environments. The facilitator said he made gains over the course of the program. Vojkovic’s case management team reports no concerns with his behaviour, the decision says, and his behaviour has improved in the past year.

The plan for his absence would include having a parole officer drive him from his current institution to the ferry terminal. From there, the officer would accompany him if time permits, otherwise Vojkovic could take a bus or taxi to the facility.

The plan includes secondary destinations around Vancouver Island, including a friendship centre, sites for Indigenous ceremonies and events, a Salvation Army building for recovery meetings, fast food restaurants, a gym, and shopping mall.

For the first 30 days he would meet weekly with his parole officer, then twice more over the next 30 days.

“In coming to the decision to authorize the 60-day UTA for personal development, the Board has not forgotten the very serious and complex psychological and circumstantial issues represented by the murder and sexual assault of the victim,” reads the Parole Board decision.

“The offence caused the victim incalculable suffering and left her family members traumatized and suffering to this day. The Board also notes that actuarial measures of risk point to a moderate to moderate-high risk to re-offend violently and sexually.”

The board also acknowledges his success in escorted temporary absences, Vojkovic’s insight into his violent behaviour, and his maintaining sobriety. The board granted the absence for “personal development and rehabilitative purposes.”

Vojkovic must return to the facility nightly, and abide by numerous conditions. These include no alcohol or drugs, no contact with his victim’s family, not to be in the Lower Mainland, reporting intimate relationships to his parole supervisor, and no criminal associations.

READ ALSO: Overnight shooting in Coquitlam leaves 2 people with gunshot wounds

Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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