Suspicious death deemed homicide

NANAIMO – RCMP probe homicide case in North Oyster though holiday weekend.

Police investigate the death of an North Oyster man over the weekend.

Police investigate the death of an North Oyster man over the weekend.

Investigators from Ladysmith RCMP and RCMP Forensic Identification Services continued their investigation into the homicide of a man found deceased in his home last week.

Kenneth Benjamin Hein, 76, was found dead in his home on Wagon Wheel Trail in Ladysmith’s North Oyster district shortly before 11:30 a.m. May 16.

Ladysmith RCMP’s initial investigation turned up some suspicious aspects to Hein’s death, promoting them to call in the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit.

Investigators continued to canvass the neighbourhood looking for leads in the case and could be seen conducting extensive physical ground searches for evidence on Hein’s property and the surrounding area through the long weekend.

Police confirmed Hein’s death was the result of foul play Tuesday and said police tape would remain up around his residence pending a forensic autopsy expected to be completed this week.

The B.C. Coroner Service has been working with investigators to confirm a cause and time of death.

Hein, who ran a small private trucking business, was liked by his neighbours and was known as someone who was friendly and helpful.

Mike Gogo, a Nanaimo cedar mill operator, has put up a $10,000 reward for the capture of a suspect, if Hein’s death proved to be the result of foul play.

“I’ve known him for a long time and he was just a hard-working guy,” Gogo said. “I mean, he’s 76 and still running his gravel truck.”

Gogo said Hein had periods of bad luck throughout his life, which included the death of his wife in 2011.

“He was a good guy,” Gogo said. “He always tried to please everybody and do what he could.”

Cpl. Darren Lagan, Island District RCMP spokesman, said investigators are optimistic about their progress so far.

“We have made significant progress over the last five days and our investigators are confident they will solve this case,” he said in a press release. “Based on the evidence and information we have gathered to date, we do not believe there is an increased risk to public safety.”

Because of the  active homicide investigation, police are not releasing further details about the case.

Anyone with information in relation to this investigation is asked to contact the Ladysmith RCMP at 250-245-2215 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.