YARMOUTH, N.S. – The RCMP are investigating an alleged ‘serious' assault they say was committed on a 17-year-old girl in Yarmouth on Friday evening, Jan. 4, during which time, according to the police, the girl was driven to several locations and beaten by multiple individuals, with the assaults starting in the vehicle itself.
The girl was eventually able to flee and ran into the Your Winners World convenience store on Route 3 in Yarmouth where staff at the store was able to call 911 for help. The girl was transported to the hospital.
When entered the store just before 8 p.m., the girl was bleeding and had several injuries to her face and hands, RCMP say. She was screaming as she ran into the store seeking help.
The RCMP have arrested five people — one youth and four adults. Police describe some of the adults as “young adults” with “similar ages to the victim” (some of those arrested are 19 years old). Those arrested are facing charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. The RCMP said on Jan. 7 the weapon was a stick, however court documents identify it as a metal bar.
The RCMP allege this was a targeted incident against the victim. They have made their determination based on statements and other things they’ve turned up since the attack.
“We don’t want people to think that this may happen to them as well,” RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said in an interview. “It’s a targeted incident and the victim and suspects do know each other. It’s related to a dispute between those parties, but not random.”
Clarke said the situation that could have been even more serious, given the girl's head and facial injuries.
“I don’t have the medical background to really get into that. It was very upsetting and disturbing for the staff at the convenience store where she showed up. She was in quite a state,” Clarke said. The Tri-County Vanguard contacted the store Monday afternoon but none of the staff working Friday evening was on shift at the time of our call. A manager said she was very relieved that the staff were able to help the teenager and that it was very upsetting to them.
The RCMP say the victim was picked up on Cliff Street — the time was not provided — in a blue Hyundai Tucson (a small SUV), with Nova Scotia licence plate GGA 153. The teenager was picked up by "one female on a pretense," according to the media release. But the RCMP say, unbeknownst to the victim, three people were in the back of the SUV and they started hitting her and punching her in the head.
Asked about the pretense that the RCMP say was used to get the girl into the vehicle, Corporal Jennifer Clarke said, “I guess the gist of that would just be that she didn’t think there was any controversial reason for her to not go. She just assumed it was more of a social call.”
But a social call it wasn’t, according to details the RCMP have released, which are disturbing.
After being assaulted in the vehicle, the girl was driven to Leighton Street in Hebron where she was dragged out of the vehicle, thrown to the ground and kicked and punched in the head, RCMP said in the release. Then they went to a home on Baker Street, before driving to the NSLC outlet on Starrs Road. Further information has come to light from an NSLC spokesperson saying that the alleged assailant(s) in this case walked by the store with the teenage girl but no one entered the store itself.
"Like the entire community, our employees are very upset by this terrible attack," said Beverly Ware, communications advisor for the NSLC.
The release said the girl was then taken to another location on Green Street, where the assaults on the teen continued. According to the police, the owner of a dog tried to get it to attack the girl.
"The suspects then poured water all over her face and down her throat. She was dragged to the car by her hair. With a total of six people in the vehicle (which includes the victim), they left that location and went to the convenience store on Hwy. 3,” the release reads. “The victim who had been between two people in the backseat, was able to flee the vehicle, run to the store and get help.”
The RCMP arrested one suspect Friday evening. Two other females were arrested on Jan. 5 and 6. The two remaining suspects were arrested Monday morning, Jan. 7. Charges had not yet been filed with the court so the names of those arrested/charged was not yet available. (This story will be updated when that information is available.)
Asked about the duration of time the victim was subjected to these assaults, Clarke said she didn’t have an exact time frame. “But it certainly didn’t happen over the course of a few minutes. There are several locations and different things that happened and quite a bit of driving around to different locations, so it would have gone on for some period of time,” she said.
The RCMP are asking anyone who can assist with this investigation to contact them at 902-742-9106. This includes providing information about the locations and times the blue Hyundai Tucson was seen in Yarmouth on Jan. 4, or any other information that might be relevant. “We’re hoping if people saw some of the incidents, as terrifying as they may have been (that they will share this information), rest assured we do have five people arrested,” said Clarke. She said the police are still trying to piece together all that took place.
“They were several different locations, it’s quite a story to untangle,” she said. “And I don’t use the word story because there’s any lack of validity to it, it’s just simply . . . if there is a way to corroborate information that we’ve released we would appreciate it.” Asked if it is possible that the victim was also taken to other locations against her will, Clarke said, “Anything is possible with something like this. We feel like we’ve got things fairly clear, but again if anyone has information, like if they saw something happening, or maybe something that didn’t look quite right, we would encourage them to call us.”
Should people wish to remain anonymous, they can call Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), submit a secure web tip at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca, or use the P3 Tips App.