Man charged in 2014 death of Blueberry First Nations Woman

Fort St John

2017-10-30 10:15 PDT

The BC RCMP is announcing that a suspect has now been charged in the death of Blueberry First Nation resident Pamela Napoleon, aged 42. The BC RCMP’s Major Crimes Unit, in partnership with Fort St. John RCMP, arrested a suspect October 27, 2017, in connection to her death which is believed to have occurred in the summer of 2014. Blueberry First Nation is approximately 90 kilometres north of Fort St. John.

Pamela Napoleon

Pamela was last seen on July 8, 2014, leaving Blueberry First Nation. She was reported missing to police by her family on July 23, 2014 because it was unusual for her not have been in contact with them for so long. Fort St. John RCMP began a missing person’s investigation at that time, but unfortunately her remains were recovered on August 4, 2014 in a burned cabin about 30 kilometres north of Buick.

Fort St. John RCMP then launched a comprehensive investigation into Pamela’s suspicious death. Their investigation expanded in 2015, when investigators decided to engage the Special Projects Unit within BC RCMP’s Major Crimes Unit, to ensure enhanced expertise was at hand. Significant police resources were deployed to gather evidence sufficient to support criminal charges.

We want to thank Pamela’s family and loved ones, and the Blueberry First Nations’ community, for their patience as we pursued our investigations, says Inspector Stephen Cocks, head of the Special Projects Unit. We know homicide investigations can be extremely difficult for the victim’s family and loved ones. They are suffering a huge loss, and the investigative process can be lengthy. But we wanted to ensure that we honoured Pamela’s memory, which for us meant taking the time to ensure the evidence gathered would meet the standards demanding by the courts.

Pamela Napoleon with family and loved ones

Investigators met with Pamela’s family on the weekend, to advise them of this update, and RCMP Victim Services has also been engaged.

Leon Wokeley, aged 42, of Blueberry First Nation, was arrested without incident in Fort St. John on October 27, 2017. He is facing charges of: 2nd degree murder, arson and indignity to human remains, for his role in the homicide of Pamela Napoleon. He has been remanded in custody and will be appearing in Fort St. John Provincial court on Wednesday November 1, 2017.

Transcription
  • Thank you all for coming here today.
  • My name is Inspector Stephen Cocks, head of the Special Projects Unit for the BC RCMP’s Major Crimes Unit.
  • I’d like to start by acknowledging Vanessa, the sister of Pamela Napoleon. Thank you so much for joining us and providing some comments and thoughts on behalf of your family.
  • We’re here today, to announce charges in relation to Pamela’s death.
  • Pamela was a Blueberry First Nations woman aged 42 at the time of her death, which occurred in the summer of 2014.
  • Pamela was last seen on July 8, 2014, leaving Blueberry First Nation. Her family reported her missing on July 23, 2014 to the Fort St. John RCMP because it was very unusual for her not be connect with them for such a long time.
  • Fort St. John police launched a missing person’s investigation at that time.
  • But, unfortunately, Pamela’s remains were recovered on August 4, 2014 in a burned cabin about 30 kilometres north of Buick.
  • The Fort St. John RCMP then launched a comprehensive investigation into Pamela’s suspicious death.
  • Their investigation expanded in 2015, when the detachment decided to engage the Special Projects Unit within BC RCMP’s Major Crimes Unit.
  • That’s the unit I’m in charge of, and essentially our job was to assist the detachment with some enhanced expertise in certain investigative techniques.
  • Here in BC, our Special Project Unit has dedicated investigative units that can either assist or take on ownership of individual or multiple murder investigations.
  • Because we need to respect the court process, I won’t be able to go into detail on what investigative steps were taken or the evidence obtained. However, I can confirm that significant police resources were deployed to gather evidence sufficient to support criminal charges.
  • While there may have speculation and rumors around what happened to Pamela, our role is to obtain the facts and evidence that proves the offence.
  • We were able to secure charges due the extensive work done by the Fort St. John RCMP. They remained engaged with their community. They listened. Our efforts focussed on take the information and confirming the evidence.
  • At this point, I want to thank Pamela’s family and loved ones, and the Blueberry First Nations’ community, for their patience as we pursued our investigations.
  • We know homicide investigations can be extremely difficult for the victim’s family and loved ones. They are suffering a huge loss, and the investigative process can be lengthy.
  • Our goal was to honour Pamela’s memory, which for us meant taking the time to ensure the evidence gathered would meet the standards demanded by the courts.
  • Leon Wokeley, aged 42, of Blueberry First Nation, was arrested without incident in Fort St. John on Friday, October 27.
  • He is facing charges of:
    • 2nd degree murder
    • Arson; and,
    • indignity to human remains, for his role in the homicide of Pamela Napoleon.
  • Leon Wokeley has been remanded in custody and will be appearing on Wednesday in Fort St. John Provincial Court.
  • I can confirm that the investigation determined this was an isolated incident, in which the two individual knew each other because they resided in the same community and this was not a domestic related crime.
  • I can also confirm that our investigation has also not determined any other information that would see additional charges being laid in connection with any other missing or homicide investigations.
  • While charges has been laid, our work is not over. We will now be preparing for the upcoming court process.

  • Thank you all for coming here today to hear from the family of Pamela Napoleon.
  • My name is Vanessa APSASSIN. I am the sister of Pamela Napoleon. To my side is Amanda APSASSIN
  • On Friday, October 27 we learned that Pamela’s case had been solved. Understandably this was a shock to all of us and has brought back many dark memories from the time she went missing until now.
  • This new development in the case has brought both sadness and relief to our family because it is a reminder of our tragic loss.
  • We want to thank the police for taking our case seriously, establishing what happened to Pam so that we can begin to heal.
  • I want to take this opportunity to say a few things about Pamela on behalf of myself and Pamela’s family
  • Pamela was a loving daughter, sister, mother, aunt and friend who was cared about deeply by our family and the community.
  •  To us, Pam was a beautiful spirit:
    • o She loved spending time with her baby boys and spending time with family & friends
    • o She loved the outdoors camping , hunting and fishing;
    • o Preparing traditional food;
    • o She loved her culture;
    • o She loved to cook and prepare meals for special occasions;
    • o She loved her boys with all her heart as well as her family and friends;
  • Pamela was a great person who was taken from too early.
  • We miss her so much, she is dearly missed by her family & friends.
  • She was a loving mother to her kids. She loved and cared for everyone the was in her life;
  • Again on behalf of the family we thank you for listening
  • Pamela may be gone but she is not forgotten.

  • Good afternoon, I'm Inspector Mike Kurvers, Detachment Commander of the Fort Saint John RCMP.
  • Firstly, on behalf of the RCMP, I would like to offer our thoughts and condolences to Pamela's family for their tragic loss. They have been supportive of our investigation and I cannot begin to imagine what a mix of emotions this day, and this announcement brings them.
  • I am here today to represent the dozens of investigators and support staff who have worked tirelessly on the suspicious death investigation of Pamela Napoleon, over the last 3 years.
  • As mentioned by Insp. Cocks, our ultimate goal was to honour Pamela's memory by making sure we gathered sufficient evidence to arrest the person responsible for her death and secure a charge.
  • Investigations such as these are complex, and often not without challenges.
  • There are hundreds of pieces of forensic evidence to work through, interviews to conduct and tips to follow up on.
  • While we conduct our investigation, a family and a whole community is left to mourn the loss of their loved one, looking for answers as to why and how their family member, could be the victim of such a senseless crime.
  • Over these last three years, investigators took the necessary time and commitment until enough evidence led to a single suspect.
  • We absolutely support and welcomed this rigorous approach which has led us now to the arrest and charge of Leon Wokeley.
  • I know that this announcement will never bring Pamela back ; I can only hope it brings some comfort and answers to her family and the community.
  • We will continue to provide support to Pamela's family and those who knew and loved her.

[end of transcript] 

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Statement from Vanessa Apsassin, Sister of Pamela Napoleon

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 Pamela Napoleon

Released by:

Cpl. Dan Moskaluk
District Advisory NCO (Media Relations)
South East District
1168 Main Street, Penticton B.C. V2A-5E8
Office No.: 250-770-4754
Cell No.: 250-863-7433
Fax No.: 250-492-4851
Email: dan.moskaluk@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

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