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Man convicted of 1993 murder of Langley resident found dead

The man whose body was dismembered and partially eaten by a black bear south of Kamloops was a convicted murderer from the Lower Mainland, who in 1993 killed a Langley man he thought had sexually abused a member of his family, Black Press has learned.

Kamloops regional coroner Mark Coleman confirmed the identity of the dead man as 54-year-old Rory Nelson Wagner, who had recently been living in Kamloops.

Investigators believe Wagner sat dead in his 1986 Volkswagen Jetta, parked just off Long Lake Road south of Knutsford, for a matter of days, likely as a result of suicide, before a bear happened upon the scene.

The bear pulled the corpse from the vehicle through an open window, then buried it underneath a pile of dirt and undergrowth.

Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt. Grant Learned said the body was “dismembered and partially eaten” when located by investigators.

Mounties were alerted to the scene by hunters, who made the grisly find at about 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30.

Police said at the time the black bear was still in the area protecting the corpse.

Investigators removed the body from the site late Wednesday night.

Conservation officers set up bear traps in the area, hoping to catch the bruin that buried Wagner’s body. The bear was put down on the weekend.

An autopsy and toxicology test on Wagner took place Friday.

In 1996, Black Press has learned, Wagner was one of three men who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in relation to the death of a Langley man.

Three years earlier, in 1993, Andy Kohlman was found not guilty on sexual assault charges allegedly committed against one of Wagner’s relatives.

Wagner, along with his younger brother, Roland Robert Wagner, and another man, Gerald Peter Beaugrand, kidnapped and murdered Kohlman after the not guilty verdict.

Kohlman had been beaten to death. His body was dumped in the Fraser Valley.

Wagner, his brother and Beaugrand were initially charged with first degree murder and kidnapping. They pleaded guilty to the lesser  charge of second degree murder on the day their trial was slated to begin in New Westminster.

At the time of his death, Wagner would have still been bound by parole conditions as a result of the murder conviction.

Police have said they believe Wagner had been living in Kamloops, but had not been seen since May 23.

After the online version of this story was published, The Times received a letter from a friend of Wagner’s, Michelle Beaugrand.

She stated that bringing up Wagner’s murder conviction was “not appropriate” and makes it difficult for his surviving family members.

“The family has been through enough,” she said. “There has been enough hurt caused to a great many people over the years over this whole debacle.

“I am not condoning what any of the three have done, but people make mistakes and he paid his due and served his time.”

She also pointed out that Wagner’s brother Roland, who was also convicted in the murder, had died earlier.

– Tim Petruk, Black Press

 

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