N.S. brothers charged in two separate homicide cases
Published Wednesday, July 4, 2012 12:50PM ADT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 4, 2012 7:32PM ADT
The RCMP have laid charges against two brothers in connection with two separate homicides in Nova Scotia, including the death of a 20-year-old Dartmouth woman reported missing in November.
Dustan Joseph Preeper, 24, of Halifax and his brother, Joshua Michael Preeper, 20, of Kennetcook, N.S. have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Melissa Peacock.
Peacock left her Dartmouth home on Nov. 7 and was reported missing two days later when she failed to return.
Her cell phone was last traced to the Gore, N.S. area and her Facebook page indicates her became friends with Dustan Preeper three days before she was last seen.
At a press conference this morning, police said they found human remains Tuesday in Upper Stewiacke.
“While the RCMP are working with the medical examiner’s office to identify the remains, it is the strong belief of the investigators that the remains are those of Melissa Peacock,” says Chief Supt. Brian Brennan.
Today, her mother released this statement:
“I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of the police officers involved in the search for my daughter, Melissa, and for bringing to justice those accused in her death...On behalf of the family, I respectfully ask for privacy during this traumatic time to allow us an opportunity to grieve, and to say goodbye to our Melissa.”
The RCMP arrested Dustan Preeper Tuesday afternoon at a home in Halifax and Joshua Preeper at a residence in Kennetcook, where he lives with his grandparents. Investigators from the Truro and Halifax areas also assisted in the arrests.
Dustan Preeper has also been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of 26-year-old Ben Hare of Truro, who was found dead outside an apartment building on Lyman Street around 2 a.m. on Jul. 8, 2010.
Police say they gathered information and evidence during the initial Hare homicide investigation, and throughout the Peacock investigation, that supported a common suspect.
They say this led to the investigation and subsequent second-degree murder charge against Dustan Preeper, in connection with Hare’s death. He was first arrested and charged with second-degree murder two years ago, shortly after Hare was stabbed to death, but the charge was withdrawn and Hare was released.
“I’m not trying to be coy with you, we just can’t comment on that before, while the matter is before the courts now,” says Crown attorney Peter Craig.
Police say Peacock and Hare didn’t know each other, but they both knew the Preeper brothers.
Investigators say information that surfaced through the Nova Scotia Department of Justice Rewards Program also led to their arrests.
“We were relentless in our efforts to gather evidence, and with the assistance from the Nova Scotia Department of Justice Rewards Program, we have ultimately been able to bring individuals to justice and have them answer to these senseless acts of violence" says Brennan.
The missing person investigation into the disappearance of Melissa Peacock was added to the program on May 18.
Police say this is the first time information received through the program has ever led to arrests and charges, and if there is a conviction, whoever provided the information could receive up to $150,000.
Dustan and Joshua Preeper appeared in Truro provincial court today and emotions were high outside the court. Dustan spat at a photographer on his way into court, and police arrested a 24-year-old woman at the courthouse. She remains in police custody.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell