A young woman who graduated from Earl Marriott Secondary in South Surrey has been identified as the victim of a “very violent struggle” at a Vancouver Island home last weekend that left one woman dead and two people in serious condition.
Court documents reveal 20-year-old Emily Caruana was killed in the May 11 incident; charged with first-degree murder is 47-year-old Alan Charles Chapman.
Police were called to a Meadow Lark Lane home in Brentwood Bay at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday after reports of a disturbance.
Josh Haymes, a neighbour from down the street, said that he was pulling into his driveway when the altercation was happening.
Haymes said that as he ran toward the house calling 911, a man ran out of the house and jumped into a white car and “almost ran him over” as he drove away.
The following morning, Central Saanich police confirmed an altercation had occurred in the Brentwood Bay home and one man was in police custody.
Chief Const. Les Sylven said it was believed the incident was not random, but didn’t provide any additional details on cause of death or injuries.
Forensics and police officers – including the Vancouver Island Major Crimes Unit – were on scene investigating in the days following the incident.
Around 7:40 a.m. Saturday, a woman sped into a driveway neighbouring the house that stood behind police tape in the quiet cul-de-sac where the incident occurred.
The woman was hysterical as she got out of her car and ran to the front of the house.
“She was innocent,” the woman screamed as she collapsed to the ground.
In a Facebook tribute, Caruana is described as someone who “always brightened my day.”
“I remember meeting Emily Caruana on my first day at Air Cadets many years ago, she spotted me in the corner all shy and silent, and welcomed me with so much joy and energy,” writes Victoria Kim, a fellow EMS grad. “I still have not forgotten, and will never forget the love and acceptance I felt from her at that moment.”
A GoFundMe page set up by Caruana’s aunt, Cindy Lee Sonier reads: “Our Caruana family was hit with unexpected tragedy after a violent struggle in their childhood home. We lost our only niece and my husband is recovering from surgery to save his life in hospital.”
Sonier told Peace Arch News that Caruana graduated EMS in 2016, and did her associate degree in arts for future teachers at Douglas College.
“She worked so hard and finished her last semester with As and A+… was accepted into University of British Columbia for the fall,” Sonier told PAN Wednesday by email.
“She told me last week she wanted to be an English high school teacher.”
As of Wednesday morning, more than $14,000 had been donated to the campaign, which is aiming to raise $30,000 to help with Caruana’s funeral costs and accommodations for family members displaced by the tragedy.
One donor who describes knowing Caruana throughout high school, says she remembers her as someone whose “sincere kindness gave her a tremendous gift for making others feel accepted and included.”
“I will always cherish her memory and the impact that she had in my life,” writes Alanah Joy.
A post from Laura, Jeff, Grady and Annika Kendall details how Caruana had cared for the family’s two young children for the past 18 months.
“My children adored her. I adored her,” the post states, describing a young woman who has “been an integral part of our lives since she came into our lives.”
“Last week she reorganized the kids’ playroom and I haven’t been able to go in there since learning of her death on Saturday.”
Tuesday, a lone police cruiser and plainclothes officer stood outside the red-and-white house. It remained sealed off with police tape; a white car was parked in the driveway. The curtains were drawn and the house quiet, with no sign of forensics teams or any activity.
Chapman appeared before a tele-bail hearing Saturday and was expected back in court Wednesday (May 15) in Victoria.
Sylven asked members of the public with any information to contact the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit at 250-380-6200.
– with files from Tracy Holmes