Three people charged in attacks on teen girl in Yarmouth; two more face charges
Published Tuesday, January 8, 2019 3:02PM AST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 8, 2019 10:20PM AST
Three people have been charged in connection with a brutal assault in Yarmouth last Friday night.
Charges are pending for two others and the ages of the accused range from 17 to 64.
Police say a 17-year-old girl was repeatedly beaten and her family says she only managed to get away by rolling out of the vehicle in which she was being held.
The complicated timeline of events started just before 8 p.m. last Friday.
It was around that time that police say the girl got into an SUV just off Yarmouth's Main Street.
She told police five people took turns assaulting her both inside and outside the vehicle as it moved from place to place, between several locations spanning approximately 10 kilometres:
- first going to Leighton Street, a remote area outside town limits;
- then, a residence along Baker Street;
- up Starrs Road to an NSLC location;
- then they made a stop on Green Street; and finally,
- driving along a road just off highway three, near a convenience store where the girl says she was able to escape and get help.
Police say, at one point, the owner of a dog tried to get it to attack the girl before she escaped into the store, injured and screaming.
Police say throughout the evening she was punched, kicked, dragged by her hair and had water forced down her throat.
Two 19-year-olds and a 17-year-old have been formally charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, unlawful confinement, conspiracy to commit an offence and uttering threats.
A 19-year-old and a 64-year-old have similar charges pending.
The 64-year-old is facing a charge of assault with a weapon. RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said the weapon involved was a stick.
"It's a significant incident for sure," she said, adding that she could not speak to the motive. "That level of violence is very concerning."
Crown Attorney Marc Njoh said the Crown and the community are concerned by the “serious offences."
“That's why we take our time to canvas what we have to canvas and ensure that all the public safety concerns are addressed,” Njoh said.
Two of the accused made a brief appearance in court Tuesday.
The two 19-year-olds are Danesha Russel and Jadelyn Rhyno -- also known as Trey Middleton.
Their lawyers asked for the matter to be set over until Thursday.
The 17-year-old victim's aunt and grandmother were also in court.
They spoke to CTV News and shared how the teen is doing.
“She's scared for her life -- she's been traumatized,” said the girl's aunt, who cannot be identified in order to protect the identity of the victim. “She's doing as well as expected. She is a very strong young girl, we just hope this is handled the best way possible and that she'll be able to eventually walk down the street without feeling she has to look over her shoulder or anything. We're hoping she doesn't have nightmares, which I mean of course is possible.”
The family says the girl has been getting lots of support and the outreach from others has been a comfort.
“We definitely all appreciate it,” her aunt said. “It's going to be a long process for all of us.”
They say the girl's face is swollen, her body is covered with bruises, and some of her fingernails were removed.
All of their energy is going into ensuring she feels safe and supported, saying she's been incredibly strong.
“She's kind of trying to put on a brave face and be the tough little girl she thinks she is but she's hurting, she's bruised,” said her grandmother. “Mentally, we don't know exactly where she is, but we're trying to be the best support we can be for her.”
The family says some people have questioned why the girl didn't try to escape before the convenience store.
“She said: ‘I was scared for my life, I didn't think to do anything other than what they told me to do because I didn't know what they were going to do to me,’” said the victim’s aunt.
Police say the victim and five accused know one another, which makes the allegations all the more chilling in a town where many people feel like they know their neighbours.
None of the allegations have been tested in court.
The two people who appeared in court on Tuesday will remain in custody until their next court appearance Thursday. Bail will be discussed at that time.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown and The Canadian Press.