Police have new sex assault suspect after arresting wrong person

SURREY – The Surrey RCMP has arrested a new suspect in connection with the Aug. 27 kidnapping and sexual assault of a nine-year-old girl in Whalley after realizing they’d got the wrong guy when they arrested Donovan Christopher Adams with the crime.

"As more evidence was unearthed, it became apparent that Mr. Adams had confessed to a crime he did not commit," said Supt. Trent Rolfe, Surrey RCMP’s investigative services officer.

Adams, 23, of no fixed address, was arrested on Sept. 2 and charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, sexual interference, breaking and entering and committing an indecent act. But on Oct. 10, the Surrey RCMP asked the Crown to drop all charges against him and he was released from custody.

Rolfe said Adams had been arrested "in part based on comments Mr. Adams made that directly implicated him in this assault."

But in the weeks that followed, Rolfe said, the RCMP did an "independent analysis of the accused’s statement, which is standard practice, but was particularly important given Mr. Adams’ vulnerability."

"Despite Mr. Adams’ comments implicating himself, the physical evidence did not confirm this and actually led the investigation in another direction," Rolfe said. "As a result of our analysis and in combination with the new physical evidence, the Surrey RCMP could no longer maintain the belief that Mr. Adams was responsible for this offence and on Oct. 10, 2014, requested Crown counsel enter a stay of proceedings."

On Thanksgiving Monday, the Surrey RCMP’s special victims unit arrested 28-year-old Chilliwack resident Cory Schaumleffel. He has been charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, sexual interference, committing an indecent act, and break-and-enter with intent. Schaumleffel appeared in Surrey provincial court on Wednesday.

During a press conference in September police said the victim, who cannot be identified, was lured out of her open ground-floor bedroom window in Cedar Hills, taken to a nearby park, molested, and left her in a nearby yard. She then ran home and told her mom.

"We’re grateful she was able to flee to safety," Rolfe said at the time.

"I can say this young girl was very brave. She helped us catch this man."

"Considering the circumstances," Rolfe told reporters, she is doing "remarkably well."

Adams and the victim didn’t know each other, Rolfe noted, in September.

"He didn’t know her. He had the opportunity."

It’s a "very unusual" case, he said.

Rolfe said Adams was arrested "in the area" of Robson Park, which is where the assault occurred.

"So I guess to go with the belief he won’t return to the scene of the crime is incorrect."

Rolfe told reporters at the September press conference that police had been canvassing the neighbourhood for clues when they spotted Adams.

"The investigative team continued to work tirelessly through the weekend, despite having a male in custody, to ensure we have the right man, as we gathered, sifted and pored through the evidence," Rolfe said at the time.

@tomzytaruk

tzytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

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