Author Topic: Roger Byer Homicide, Saskatchewan, April 1, 2010  (Read 10463 times)

lostlinganer

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Roger Byer Homicide, Saskatchewan, April 1, 2010
« on: October 02, 2010, 01:14:14 AM »
http://saskcrimestoppers.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=650:roger-byer-homicide&catid=7:homicides&Itemid=15

On  April 1,2010 shortly before 3:00 pm the Wakaw RCMP were called after a body was located in the immediate vicinity of a 2009 black GMC Canyon pick up truck. The body and vehicle were located by a farmer checking his fields in an area south of Highway # 41 between Yellow Creek and Meskanaw. Investigation at the scene included the assistance of the Wakaw RCMP, RCMP Search & Rescue Team, RCMP Forensic Identification Specialists from Prince Albert, the Saskatchewan Coroner Branch and the RCMP  Major Crime North unit from Saskatoon. Police can now confirm the remains located were those of Mr Byer and the vehicle found in the immediate vicinity of the body was the GMC pickup truck associated to Mr Byer.  Following the results of the on site investigation and post mortem the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Roger Byer is now a homicide investigation.

 


CCF

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Re: Roger Byer Homicide, Saskatchewan, April 1, 2010
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2010, 01:17:53 AM »
The majority of the major crimes which happen in Melfort are DUIs, the odd B&E and a few small scale drug busts.  Just like anytown, it does have its bad apples as I am familiar with the town.  The last murder to take place there I think was in the late 80's or early 90's.  It is your typical quiet agriculture community where everyone knows everyone's business.  Meskanaw is a hamlet of about 20 people, if that, about 35 Km southwest of Melfort.  It is a few houses, a curling rink/community hall and a very small store run in an old run down church in the north end.  Yellow Creek, about 10 km away from Meskanaw, is a bit bigger, but not by much.  The village itself is about a 1/2 mile off of 41 so you do not go through it; Meskanaw is immediately off the highway.  The Meskanaw-Yellow Creek area is a mix of farm land and bush-a 50/50 mix where prairie & bush intermingle with one another.  There is a gas station at Yellow Creek right off the highway (I think it is still open) and that is about all there.  There was a hotel & bar there, but it burned down in the mid-late 80s and was never rebuilt-at least not to my knowledge.  Although I now live in the Calgary area, I am still friends with and know people in this area.

A family member actually filled me in a little bit more about this murder.  I was told the farmer who's property the victim was found at is the brother of a guy I know.  The victim actually disappeared on the afternoon of January 20th, 2010 but wasn't found until April by the farmer when he noticed a truck partially sticking out from under a pile of thick, packed snow when he was out checking his land-I am not sure if he also found his body.  The area had gotten several wicked snowstorms between the time he disappeared and was found, so the snow in fact buried his truck and is why it wasn't found for many months.  The RCMP conducted air searches but came up empty as this is why.  Mr. Byer's body was found outside of his truck several meters away, but the police have never divulged the cause of death.  All they said was it was a homicide.  The victim serviced ATM machines, not the ones found at banking institutions, but those little ones which are found in malls, casinos, gas stations, etc.  According to CBC, he was carrying an undisclosed amount of cash on him the day he went missing and is the primary motive behind his murder.  The day he initially went missing, he was in Melfort on work related business and was supposedly on his way home to Prince Albert when he disappeared.  I don't know where he was at in Melfort the day he disappeared.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/saskatchewan/story/2010/04/07/sk-roger-byer-homicide-1004.html

The strange thing about this is Highway 41 is the main highway connecting Melfort & Saskatoon, not PA.  You can get to PA this way, but it is a round-about way of getting there and he would have no reason to go this route, unless he was going to Wakaw first.    The ways to get to PA from Highway 41 is to head north on Highway 20, which is about 10-15 Km west of Yellow Creek and 20 connects with Highway 3 at or near Birch Hills, about 20 minutes east of PA.  The direct route from Melfort to P.A. is Highway 3 which runs west from Melfort, through Kinistino, past Birch Hills, through the Muskoday Indian Reserve (which is 5 minutes out of PA) and into P.A.  Melfort & P.A. are about an hour from each other, so it is a short distance.  The next and only "big" town between Melfort & Saskatoon is Wakaw, which is about 500 people.  You can also get to PA from Wakaw by going north on Highway 2, but again two towns smaller than Wakaw (Hoey & St. Louis) are the only thing between Wakaw & P.A.  Near Wakaw is the Crossroads Restaurant & Gas Station at the intersection of Hwys 41 & 2, which is about 2 km from the town.  I know there is an ATM at this business as I have seen it with my own eyes...it is a very busy place as it is kind of a "last chance gas" until you get to Melfort (or Saskatoon), which is about an hour away-Saskatoon is about 30 to 40 minutes from Wakaw.  I can think of no other logical explanation why he would have gone this route, unless he was in fact going to Wakaw first before heading back to PA.  It is obvious he was followed, stopped under a rouse, then hijacked and driven to the land where he was eventually robbed & murdered, as he was last seen alive in Melfort.  He would have been stopped and taken hostage in a span of less than half an hour and a distance of around 45 km as he was found between Meskanaw & Yellow Creek, but to my understanding closer to Meskanaw.  Now...he may have stopped for gas at the Co-Op card lock station which is pretty much at the intersection of Highway 3 & Highway 41A, just west of the Melfort city limits.  As the 20th was a Wednesday, there would have been employees there as I think there is also a small store on site, but who is to say this is where he may have been approached or seen with the cash.

I can also say Highway 41 between Melfort & Meskanaw is VERY quiet in regards to traffic volume, especially west of the 368 & 41 intersection.  There are stretches in this area where you may pass one or two vehicles in a 10 km stretch.  It's not really until you get to Meskanaw where you notice the farm land and bush begin to mingle.  Melfort to Meskanaw on 41 is pretty much wide open and flat where you can see for miles, so if he was hijacked along this stretch the perps would have been able to see oncoming traffic for miles and would have been able to take over his vehicle in moments without anyone seeing anything.

One other website I read about this stated he was known to travel grid (gravel) roads.  Again to get to PA from Yellow creek, there is a small gravel road accessible from 41 which is a shortcut that routed you too Highway 20, just south of Crystal Springs (another hamlet which is a church & and some houses).  Mr. Byer may or may not have known about this road, but I still believe he was on his way to Wakaw.  On Highway 41 from Melfort, here are the places in order: Melfort, Ethelton (hamlet a little smaller than Meskanaw), Meskanaw, Yellow Creek, Wakaw Lake, Wakaw.  There are no stores in Ethelton, just houses.  The small little store in Meskanaw does not have an ATM and I am 99.8% sure there isn't one in Yellow Creek.  Wakaw Lake I have never been too, but I do believe there is a small little store there as there are people who live out there year round...Wakaw is only 5 km from there so I think the store is only open during the summer.  All this being said, some of these grid roads are poorly maintained in the winter and do not know why they would think this.

*One thing which crossed my mind this morning as I got up, was Mr. Byer may have been headed to St. Brieux to tend to an ATM in that town, which would be the reason he went on 41.  St. Brieux is about the same size as Wakaw and is 40 Km southwest of Melfort and the main way of travel between the two is to go Hwy 41 then south onto Hwy 368 and it takes you right to St. Brieux.  To get back to PA from St. Brieux, he would go back up 368, cross the 41 and stay on 368 until he got to the 368 & 3 junction at a village called Beatty (Beatty is about 10 km west of Melfort).  He would turn left onto 3 and be on his way to PA.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 10:09:02 PM by CCF »

tkm

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Re: Roger Byer Homicide, Saskatchewan, April 1, 2010
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2011, 05:39:05 PM »
This is in response to CCF. Roger Byer was filling machines at the time of his dissapearance. The last machine he serviced was located at the Melfort Inn around 3pm. At this time he was supposed to go to the Beehive Hotel in Tisdale. He was not as was suggested heading to Prince Albert. I just wanted to clarify this information for you. Roger was most likely accosted in the parking lot as he would not stop his truck on the road for any reason. The fact that his vehicle was driven to the location where his body was found indicates that he most likely was not run off the road as this would have either caused damage to the vehicle or gotten it stuck in the ditch. You also mentioned that the heavy snowfall impeded finding Roger. You are absolutlely correct. In fact we had a sever snowstorm one day after Roger dissapeared and two days before he was reported missing. This snowstorm dropped two feet of snow and made it impossible to find the vehicle. Further impeding the search was the fact that the RCMP were looking towards Tisdale, when in fact he was in the opposit direction of where he should have been. Also the fact that it took several days just to determine where he was going when he left the Hotel as his company had no idea where he needed to go and his boss was convinced that he had taken the money and run off with it that they did everything they could to lead investigators in this direction. For all of these reasons we may never know what happened to Roger.

Chris

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Re: Roger Byer Homicide, Saskatchewan, April 1, 2010
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2011, 11:24:04 PM »
So this was planned for sure. They knew he'd be there, and where he was going.

So he never made it too Tisdale that anyone is aware of? The Beehive is right in town right? Did that hotel in Melfort burn down or was that a different one?

I know this may seem like a stupid question, but did he know anyone in Pilger, SK?

I live in Saskatchewan myself, and I am surprised by the lack of news on this. If he was targeted by unknown killers, people should know. It is very scary that this could have happened and got away with it. I myself travel to small towns all over Saskatchewan and it kind of freaks me out.

CCF

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Re: Roger Byer Homicide, Saskatchewan, April 1, 2010
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2011, 02:26:01 AM »
This is in response to CCF. Roger Byer was filling machines at the time of his dissapearance. The last machine he serviced was located at the Melfort Inn around 3pm. At this time he was supposed to go to the Beehive Hotel in Tisdale. He was not as was suggested heading to Prince Albert. I just wanted to clarify this information for you. Roger was most likely accosted in the parking lot as he would not stop his truck on the road for any reason. The fact that his vehicle was driven to the location where his body was found indicates that he most likely was not run off the road as this would have either caused damage to the vehicle or gotten it stuck in the ditch. You also mentioned that the heavy snowfall impeded finding Roger. You are absolutlely correct. In fact we had a sever snowstorm one day after Roger dissapeared and two days before he was reported missing. This snowstorm dropped two feet of snow and made it impossible to find the vehicle. Further impeding the search was the fact that the RCMP were looking towards Tisdale, when in fact he was in the opposit direction of where he should have been. Also the fact that it took several days just to determine where he was going when he left the Hotel as his company had no idea where he needed to go and his boss was convinced that he had taken the money and run off with it that they did everything they could to lead investigators in this direction. For all of these reasons we may never know what happened to Roger.


tkm, sounds like you have some inside information close to the case as nobody, even the news reports didn't mention he was destined for Tisdale next, let alone a specific hotel.  I didn't even think he could have been headed for Tisdale as I was assuming he would have been headed home to Prince Albert after being in Melfort given the time of day it was.  Very useful information!  For those of you unfamiliar with the area, Tisdale is even smaller than Melfort.  It is about 35-40 minutes straight east of Melfort and you have to take Highway 3 to get there.  This stretch of road is usually very quiet as well with just a small town named Star City being pretty much smack dab in the middle between the two (Star City is about 5 km north off of Highway 3).  The interesting thing is Highway 3 is at the junction of 3, 6 (which runs south to Regina), and 41-the highway close to the field where his body was eventually found, so these two highways do connect with each other at this junction.

The Melfort Inn is on Saskatchewan Avenue, the main "artery" passing through Melfort and is a very busy stretch of road in the day & afternoon, especially around 3 p.m. monday to friday.  There is a back alley which runs behind the Dairy Queen and Melfort Inn, but I don't recall if there is any room for parking-IIRC, there isn't so he would have parked in the Inn's parking lot in a very public view (which he presumably would anyways as an ATM serviceman).  There is nothing on the south side of Sask Ave across from the Melfort Inn, just the golf course and a service road which is accessible directly across from the Dairy Queen; the D.Q. is literally a 30 second walk from the Inn as a carwash is all that separates the two businesses.  Because of the time of day and where he was at, I'm not buying for a second he was accosted in the parking lot (just my opinion).  Starting from outside the Inn, I'm sure someone would have seen something from Sask. Ave as the speed limit is only 50 km/hr and there is a clear view from just about every approaching angle.  Moving to the inside of the Melfort Inn, you'd think somebody would have seen something given the way the inn is situated.  It faces Sask Ave and there are windows on all 3 sides of the restaurant giving a clear view to the street and the parking lot.  The east side of the Melfort Inn is the intersection of Scotia Street & Sask. Ave so no parking there either.  The employees of the Inn would have known he serviced the ATM alone (from seeing him once or twice a week) so if they saw him talking to some people in the lot or someone getting into his vehicle with him, this would have been out of the norm.  Trust me, the restaurant/lounge in the Melfort Inn is not a very busy place during the day so if anyone was seen following him or talking to him from inside and following him out into the lot, this would have been noticed by an employee as the front desk is right where you walk in.  I'm assuming all of the employees on duty at the time would have been interviewed and the hotel ledger would have been seized to see who and what vehicles were registered at the Inn for the day and night previous to clear guests as suspects.  A guest could have even seen something from their room as well.  Sketches and/or witness descriptions would have been made public and since the RCMP have nothing to provide, this is why I personally don't believe he was approached at the business, just way too many potential witnesses at a hotel.  If you were to suggest he was watched & followed from the perp's vehicle be it from the D.Q. or carwash, I would agree with that...which leads me into my next point.  I did not imply he was run off the road into the ditch or rammed.  What I meant was he was stopped under a rouse...you know, the old broken down car trick where someone parks on the side of the road, puts the hood up and then runs out onto the road forcing you to stop for them.  This is how the truck driver in BC was stopped a few months back and once he got out to to talk to the person who ran onto the road flagging him down, he was attacked and they just about beat him to the death.  I am guessing The Melfort Inn to the 3, 6 & 41 junction is at most 3 or 4 kilometers....it would have given them time to spot him coming out of the inn to get ahead of him and "setup" somewhere on Highway 3, but far enough away from the city limits where there is less traffic.  They also could have been just the "trail" vehicle as well.  With the use of cell phones these days, who is to say one vehicle wasn't already in place on Highway 3 and as Mr. Byer's vehicle got within a Km or less, a call was made to get out and force him into stopping.  The trail vehicle pulls in behind and within seconds he is taken over, probably at gunpoint.  I'm assuming gunpoint as I did ask my Mom over Christmas if she had heard anything new on this and she hadn't.  I also asked if she had heard how he was killed, and she told me the rumor around town is that he was shot to death at the field where he was found.  I don't know if there is any truth to either rumor...but where there is smoke there is usually fire.

Chris, Melfort was the last place he was reported being seen so it is safe to assume he never made it to Tisdale as there is nothing indicating he made it there.  The Beehive is also right in Tisdale on the east end of town I think.  The hotel I mentioned in my first post which burned down in the 80's was in Yellow Creek, the hamlet close to where his body was found.

« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 02:28:03 AM by CCF »

Chris

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Re: Roger Byer Homicide, Saskatchewan, April 1, 2010
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2011, 02:34:33 AM »
Thanks. I agree the crooks did not do anything in Melfort. They probably already knew what he was going to do next and just waited. Somewhere on the highway they got him. Must have been someone familiar with the area IMO.

There is a guy who's family lives in the Pilgar area, who once did these robberies before. And he happened to have had a job driving from Saskatoon Tisdale and around there. He quit last April I believe it was.

Just made me wonder.....

Evelyn

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Re: Roger Byer Homicide, Saskatchewan, April 1, 2010
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2012, 11:53:35 PM »
Chris chances are he does know people out by  pilger. He serviced an ATM in the next town over from pilger, 8 km away..he was a nice man!!!  Who's this family from pilger?

JDM

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Re: Roger Byer Homicide, Saskatchewan, April 1, 2010
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2012, 12:29:15 PM »
I just found this website and doubt if anyone will read this but I had intimate knowledge of Roger's activities and although I knew Roger was dead the minute I was contacted by the police, for me, closure is needed.

He never started his route(which changed daily) until about noon as he couldn't pick up his cash until around 11:00 AM. There is a photo of him entering the Credit Union.

I traveled with Roger on his trips several times and he would absolutely never stop for anything or anyone.

My guess is he was on his way to Saskatoon as it was mid afternoon and he often never got back to Prince Albert until late evening.

In regard to the comment stating Roger's boss thought he had taken off with money 1) Roger never withdrew enough money to make it worthwhile leaving his life behind 2) Anyone who knew Roger knew how much he loved his kids and wouldn't leave them for any thing 3) Roger had nothing to run away from and everything to stay for. The rumor mills (mostly bar flies) ran wild with the most ridiculous stories which made his loss more painful.

SAP

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Re: Roger Byer Homicide, Saskatchewan, April 1, 2010
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2012, 01:25:37 PM »
Thank you for that clarification JDM. Even if Roger didn't take such a large amount of money out from an ATM ... sometimes it doesn't take much for someone in need of booze money or a quick fix. He was probably watched/stalked before they struck and they knew what time he withdrew cash for the ATM's he serviced.
What am I missing? Here in AB armored vehicles are used  and always 2 persons to service ATM's. One is standing guard while the other does what he has to. Roger was a sitting duck for the lowlife's and still having to use his own vehicle! Another thing bills are numbered and in order and I find it strange that money and the thief could not be traced that way.
RIP Roger.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2012, 01:36:25 PM by SAP »

Chris

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Re: Roger Byer Homicide, Saskatchewan, April 1, 2010
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2012, 10:29:48 PM »
Thanks for the message JDM. I sort of suspected an ambush. I know that area pretty good, it seems whoever did this must have as well. They knew what he was doing and planned it. I suspect the police are on the right track since they are not out there asking for tips all the time, they probably already got an idea who and how.


SAP

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Re: Roger Byer Homicide, Saskatchewan, April 1, 2010
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2014, 09:33:30 AM »
Thank you for the update J945. Tipsters and police have done well in this case. Smith was a friend  ???.
I'm happy to know the family will receive justice finally and I hope there's enough evidence to deem it first degree.