Teen arrested in Whistler in connection with Ontario murder 

Whistler RCMP have arrested an 18 year old wanted in connection with a murder in Ontario.

Byron Gatenby is a suspect in the murder of 72-year-old Bruce Firman, a St. Catharines man who was Gatenby's grandmother's common-law husband.

"We apprehended him (Tuesday) night," Cpl. Ray Bernoties said Wednesday.

"We got him getting off a bus in Whistler at 7.22 p.m. He is being held in Whistler pending a remand hearing."

Whistler RCMP were alerted to the Canada-wide arrest warrant for Gatenby on Tuesday morning. Members were put on alert and given a description.

Bernoties said the teen offered no resistance during his arrest.

"I can't speculate on his state of mind," he said. "I can just say that he was co-operative with police on his apprehension."

Gatenby had been contacted by his mother's partner, Jack Lich of Trail, and urged to turn himself into the police as soon as possible.

It's not clear how long the teen had lived in Whistler, where he worked on a casual basis for a local restaurant.

The teen's mother, Elizabeth Gatenby, is also charged in the first-degree murder.

She appeared in court Wednesday in Ontario and is to be held without bail until her next appearance, Dec. 14 at 9 a.m.

The 42-year-old woman was visiting her sick mother in Ontario at the time of the murder. She and her mother found Firman's dead body in the garage of his bungalow at the north end of St. Catharines Nov. 27.

An autopsy determined that he died of blunt-force trauma.

Fingerprint evidence helped the police target suspects.

Also charged is a17-year-old Cranbrook acquaintance of Byron Gatenby. The youth, who cannot be named under The Young Offenders Act, has been taken to Ontario to face charges. He was to appear in court Thursday.

Firman, the common-law husband of Elizabeth Gatenby's mother, is described as a quiet man who worked as a realtor in Huntsville before setting up in the Niagara area with her four years ago.

None of the suspects are known to Ontario police. Nor had the Ontario police been called to the Firman-Gatenby home.

But said Niagara Regional Police Detective Staff Sergeant Brian Eckhardt, "I don't think it has been a happy home for the last little while.

"But as far as police involvement goes I don't believe the police were involved."

Contacted earlier the mayor of Trail, Dieter Bogs, said he was surprised to hear of the arrests. He described Byron Gatenby as "a good kid" and his mother as a tireless advocate for the unfortunate.

Elizabeth Gatenby founded the Heart of Trail youth counselling centre two-and-a-half years ago and volunteered up to 20 hours a day to act as co-ordinator of the organization. The centre was her dream.

Ontario police officers were to fly to Vancouver Wednesday morning to arrest Byron Gatenby. It is likely they will return to Ontario with the teen today.

First-degree murder charges imply the act was planned and deliberate or that the victim died during a robbery or sexual assault.

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