“We need to catch him, and soon.”
Crystal Sylvester, a friend of the victim of a horrific attack on the weekend, said this on Wednesday as she assisted in setting up a fundraising booth for the victim at the Peach Festival grounds. Little did she know that less than four hours later RCMP were going to do just that.
David Wesley Bobbitt appeared at the Penticton courthouse on Thursday on the charge of attempted murder after a tip from an orchardist just south of Oliver helped police find the man who had been on the run for four days. Bobbitt is accused of severely beating a 22-year-old woman and confining her to a bed for over 10 hours at a second-hand store on Ellis Street in Penticton. All this while her 22-month-old son sat nearby.
Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and sporting a shaved head, Bobbitt smiled at the throng of media cameras as he was brought into court by sheriffs. During court Bobbitt was mouthing words to the courtroom filled with the victim’s family and friends. Unable to contain himself, the father of the victim’s son stood up and yelled obscenities at Bobbitt. The accused quickly snapped back “keep threatening me you (expletive),” before he was grabbed by the sheriff and put back in the courthouse lock up. Outside, the intense exchange continued as sheriffs took Bobbitt to the transport vehicle. The father of the victim’s son charged the chain link fence and Bobbitt yelled out “I’ll get you later.”
A publication ban has been ordered and both defence council Robert Maxwell and Crown counsel John Swanson agreed that Bobbitt will remain in custody and have a 30-day psychiatric assessment.
“It’s a good day, isn’t it,” said the victim’s father as he left the courthouse.
The victim’s father said only time will tell in regards to the court ordered psych assessment, and that “(Bobbitt) will have his day.”
Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said Bobbitt was arrested without incident by Oliver/Osoyoos RCMP as he walked along Highway 97 near Osoyoos. At approximately 6 p.m. an orchardist just south of Oliver had noted an individual setting up camp on his property. The orchardist approached the individual and had him leave his property. Following the conversation between the two, the orchardist watched Bobbitt leave and then realized it was the person that RCMP had been looking for.
Moskaluk said the orchardist contacted an off-duty RCMP officer friend of his, who in turn immediately alerted the Oliver and Osoyoos detachments. The witness watched Bobbitt’s direction of travel until a uniformed officer arrived in the area and arrested Bobbitt as he walked along Highway 97, near Road 22 just north of Osoyoos.
“We want to thank the public and media for their assistance since this horrific incident came to light just days ago. Investigators contacted the victim’s family immediately upon confirming the arrest. We are confident that David Wesley Bobbitt’s arrest will permit the victim and her family some degree of respite,” said Moskaluk.
Sharon O’Connor, a friend of the victim, said she received a phone call last night from the victim saying Bobbitt had been found.
“She was so happy she was almost bouncing. She said I feel like I have so much energy,” said O’Connor.
After visiting with the victim, O’Connor said the young mother seemed relieved because she was released from the hospital on Wednesday and now she is able to be at home and feel safe since Bobbitt has been captured.
“She said I’m excited to sleep and I am glad everyone else gets to sleep too. So she is not just thinking of herself but the community too,” said O’Connor. “Her strength just blows me away. I think Penticton really pulled through for her and I think she feels it.”
RCMP are continuing to investigate the incident and are working to develop a timeline of what Bobbitt has been doing the past four days. Cpl. Moskaluk asked anyone that can positively identify Bobbitt as being in their vehicle, store or anywhere else should contact them. Moskaluk added that RCMP have established that Bobbitt was dropped off at Kaleden sometime during the day on Sunday.
Friends of the victim have set up several fundraisers to assist the young mother who will not be able to work for awhile. This includes a table set up at the Peach Festival grounds and a fundraiser with silent auction and 50/50 draws slated for Saturday at Slack Alice’s from 7 to 9 p.m. Admission will be $10, all of which will be donated to the victim. A walk is also being organized by the Penticton and Area Women’s Centre called ‘Strength in Numbers’ starting at 5 p.m. at Nanaimo Square down to Ellis Street and back on Saturday. There will be aboriginal drummers, music, speakers and a chance for community members to say some words. Everyone in attendance is encouraged to wear purple for the purple ribbon campaign which speaks out on violence against women.