North Shore murder unsolved decade later

By Vanessa Ybarra
November 29, 2016 - 5:19pm

KAMLOOPS — It's a chilling murder that has gone unsolved for a decade.

Today marks the ten year anniversary of the death of 61-year-old Henry Vandenberghe.

Vandenberghe, a former employee at Western Canada Theatre and a well respected Kamloops resident, was walking to work in the early morning hours when he was found viciously beaten. A decade later, his killer has still not been brought to justice.

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It's an attack that to this day, baffles Kamloops RCMP.

On November 28th 2006, long-time Kamloops resident Henry Vandenberghe was viciously attacked on Mackenzie Avenue.

He died the next day.

"Right now it appears to be a completely random attack on an individual that really had no enemies," says Lorne Wood, Sergeant in Charge for the Kamloops Serious Crime Unit. "He was extremely well regarded in the community."

Henry was a long-time employee with Western Canada Theatre.

Every morning, like clockwork, the 61-year-old walked along Mackenzie Avenue to catch the bus. 

"We believe he left his house on Thrupp Street at about 6:30am," said Wood. "He would've come up Thrupp Street, and turned right at Mackenzie to catch the bus for the theatre. It was there he was approached, struck in the head, and knocked down."

A passerby noticed Henry's body sprawled on the sidewalk a few minutes later and called paramedics.

Wood says with Mackenzie Avenue a high-traffic area, it's hard to believe the attack went unnoticed.

"He was attacked around 6:55am," explained Wood. "You see what it's like this time of day. I's a very busy spot. It's just sort of hard to believe it was a quick, isolated attack. For nobody to see anything,it seems kind of far-fetched."

To this day no witnesses have come forward.

A high-risk offender who attacked two women at Royal Inland Hospital the next day was questioned, but no connection was made to Henry's death.

"Henrys isn't the only cold-case we have, obviously every town does have them. But to have a case where all the leads, nothing really pans out, there's no direction, it's very frustrating."

Western Canada Theatre Executive Director Lori Marchand says the ten year anniversary of Henry's death brings a mix of emotion.

"The shock has passed i would say," says Marchand. "I think that in order to move on as a company, you know, we really just focus on what Henry had contributed to the company."

Marchand says WCT's matinee program is one of many contributions Henry made to the community. 

"Kamloops arts council was an organization where he was heavily involved," said Marchand. "He also helped organize the opening and closing ceremonies for the Canada Games. There will never be another Henry Vandenberghe. He was unique and fun, and he was incredibly committed to the work we do."

Following Henry's death, Western Canada Theatre created the 'Henry Vandenberghe Memorial Fund' which provides for theatre scholarships as well sending students to the local stage-one acting school. 

As for the still unsolved case, Kamloops RCMP is pleading with the public to come forward to find Kenry's killer. 

"Hopefully it's something that's jogged a person's memory and they can help us out," said Wood. "I still think somebody saw something."  

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