Family stunned by son's actions

The family of a Kamloops man who slashed his ex-girlfriend's face and blinded her can offer no explanation for what happened.

"We wish we knew. That's the million-dollar question," Tim Kain, a spokesman for the Rhodes family, said Thursday.

The body of Drew Travis Rhodes, 30, was found beneath the Peterson Creek Bridge on Sunday morning, hours after he attacked Lisa Harrison with a knife in a Knights Inn motel room.

Harrison, who is in her early 40s, was treated at Royal Inland Hospital before being transferred to Vancouver General Hospital. She remains in critical condition.

The Rhodes family provided a statement Thursday expressing shock at what happened. The statement says the events hurt people and "neither we nor the real Drew would want that."

Kain would not say if Rhodes had mental health issues or suffered from depression prior to Saturday night. He said he doesn't know why Rhodes attacked Harrison.

Sheri Fabian, a lecturer at Simon Fraser University's School of Criminology who specializes in intimate partner violence, said violent encounters can occur when a relationship ends and one partner still claims ownership over the other.

Incidents begin with stalking and work into an explosive, violent encounter. She said it's an emotional reaction to someone not getting what he or she wants. Usually these are people who haven't learned how to cope with not getting their own way.

"He's not getting what he wants, it's not going the way he wants it to, so he reacts violently," said Fabian, adding it's not uncommon for the attacker to commit suicide afterward.

Rhodes was supposed to remain apart from his former girlfriend after police were called to a domestic dispute on Thanksgiving.

Police recommended charges but the matter was settled with a peace bond. The no-contact order allowed the former couple to be together unless Harrison decided to break off contact.

The Crown will review Rhodes's criminal file related to that peace bond. It's not known when the review will be complete.

Fabian said the fact Harrison asked for a restraining order suggests Rhodes acted violently toward her before. Reid Webster, a psychology professor at Thompson Rivers University, said the violence could stem from one person feeling like they've contributed more to the relationship than the other.

"It's kind of a pathological investment," he said. "The person who feels slighted: they're angry. They have that narcissistic rage."

This was the second time Harrison had been the subject of a peace bond but involving a different man. Court was told in March 2004 that Harrison's mother feared that boyfriend would one day kill her daughter.

Kain never met Harrison, who Rhodes had an on-again-off-again relationship with for a year. He said Rhodes spent most of his life in Kamloops.

He held a number of jobs but worked full time doing Internet work and web design before he died. Kain described the young man as intelligent and friendly. He enjoyed sports and music and loved his dog Cindy, he said.

Rhodes has no brothers or sisters. Kain said the family has been "just rocked" by what happened.

"We're just trying to get through it," he said.

His father Kevin Rhodes was scheduled to attend the 2010 Olympics as an off-ice official for the hockey competitions.

A memorial service has not been planned.

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