Dead man eaten by bear was convicted in murder case

A convicted murderer out on day parole has been identified as the man whose body was found in the woods southwest of Kamloops and was partly eaten by a black bear.

Rory Nelson Wagner, 53, was reported missing after he didn't return to his residence at the John Howard Society-run Georgian Court on May 23.

An autopsy was being done Friday. Regional coroner Mark Coleman said toxicology tests were also ordered, as hard street drugs were found in Wagner's 1986 Volkswagen Jetta.

Wagner was on day parole in Kamloops for kidnapping and second-degree murder, which meant he still had to be in his apartment at night.

He, his brother Rob Wagner and Gerald Beaugrand all pleaded guilty for the 1993 beating death of a Langley man, Anthony Kohlman.

Kohlman had been acquitted of sexually abusing a child related to the two Wagner men. He was killed soon after.

A National Parole Board spokesman said Wagner's conditions included participating in counselling as directed by the court, abstaining from intoxicants, staying away from anyone involved in crime and avoiding the victim's family.

On Wednesday, hunters found Wagner's Jetta 30 metres into the bush off a pipeline cutline diverging from Long Lake Road.

The car had scratches, paw prints and a dent indicating an animal such as a bear had been at the vehicle.

Wagner's body was found about 120 metres away, covered with plant debris in what appeared to be an effort by the bear to cache it as a food supply.

Officials believe Wagner had been dead for days when the bear found him and pulled his body out of the car.

When police and conservation officers arrived later, they could hear the bear in the bush. It had dragged Wagner's body several metres away again.

After the animal left, the body was retrieved and taken to Royal Inland Hospital for an autopsy. The car was towed into town.

Coleman said the autopsy may not be conclusive at this point. Toxicology results will take a few weeks.

Wagner's identity was confirmed through fingerprint comparison.

Conservation officers captured two bears Friday and euthanized the one they determined ate the human remains.

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