Murder victim was ‘starting to love life’

The girlfriend of the 20-year-old man stabbed to death on Saturday in Oliver said he was “best friends” with the man charged with his murder, his 22-year-old brother

Julie Rooney said she spoke with her boyfriend Reece Louie an hour before he was fatally stabbed.

The girlfriend of the 20-year-old man stabbed to death on Saturday in Oliver said he was “best friends” with the man charged with his murder, his 22-year-old brother

“They had a good relationship, it was just because of the drinking. I know his brother loved him a lot, he was his best friend,” said Julie Rooney, girlfriend of the victim Reece Dillenger Louie.

Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said RCMP responded to a 9-1-1 call around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and located Louie laying outside a Black Sage Road residence, near Oliver. He was suffering from a serious stab wound and bleeding heavily as officers assisted him until paramedics arrived. 

Louie was transported to the South Okanagan Hospital in Oliver, before being transferred to Kelowna General Hospital, where he died while under hospital care Saturday evening. 

RCMP later arrested his older brother, 22-year-old Kyle Louie.

“I was at work and I talked to Reece an hour before it happened and kind of knew what was happening, but I didn’t know it was going to go to that extreme,” said a tearful Rooney. “I wish when he was telling me about it I would have said come to my work or something. I just didn’t think it would go to that extreme. I got to see Reece that morning and we said goodbye. I got to say I love you to him so I was happy to have done that.”

Rooney said her boyfriend’s favourite thing was snowboarding, and he had been excited to get his paycheque this week from the Osoyoos Indian Band campground where he worked, so he could hit the slopes at Mt. Baldy. 

She said Reece had started making plans for his future, and on Valentine’s Day they had been together when he was applying for jobs up north on drilling crews. 

“He wanted to be away from any distractions so he could work, finish his school work and get started with his life. That was his plan,” said Rooney. “He was just starting to love life and it got taken away from him.”

His girlfriend said Reece always carried a smile and liked to joke around with people. She said they shared an inside joke about how he was always texting friends.

“Usually when he was text timing, as he called it, he was trying to help people by talking about their problems and trying to cheer them up. He was good at that and knew how to bring people up when they were feeling down,” Rooney said.

The younger Louie will be remembered as the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back — literally.

“Just last week I was really upset and Reece came over,” said one of his friends Kayla Swan. “We were outside my house and I was just freezing. He wouldn’t let me say no, I had to take his sweater. He was just like that — always helping out his friends. I miss him so much.”

Swan said he had a contagious laugh and a positive attitude.

“Reece had been through a lot in his life, but everything was starting to look up again. He was just telling me last week how happy and in love he was. If he wanted anything from life it would just to be happy and always be with his friends, that is why this is so hard for so many of us,” said Swan.

RCMP investigation into the death continues and the 22-year-old Louie is due back in court on March 16. A publication ban has been ordered on evidence heard in court.

An autopsy was conducted Tuesday at Penticton Regional Hospital to help investigators in determining the cause of death.

“Our local investigators have also sought the expertise from the Alberta RCMP K Division Forensic Section, in order to complete a thorough examination of the scene, by bringing in an expert specializing in blood splatter examination,” said Moskaluk.