Thursday, August 28, 2008

To: Tim Mcleans Mom and Family regarding some tough questions

I am writing this as if addressing you personally, since it seemed to be the only way I could write this.
Before going on with this post I want to say Carol deDelley I am sorry for your loss.

When I read this article I could feel your pain, I could actually visualize you , a mother, saying the words "Don't say that" repeatedly, as if by not having to hear the words being spoken you could hope, for a moment, it was not true. But, also knowing it didn't matter if you listened or covered your ears, it wouldn't change the fact that your son was gone.
Myself, I do not know how you or the rest of the family could bear this?

I don't think anything I could write here will make you feel an happier or alleviate your pain.
But, you are right to ask questions, and to keep asking until you and your family feel satisfied that you've gotten what you need from the answers to have some semblance of peace.

What I want you to know is, your not alone in asking these questions. Myself and others here have posed many of the same questions.

So if you don't mind Mrs deDelley, I am going to quote your questions and sadly pile in with more.

In yesterdays news you voiced concerns regarding the manner in which the RCMP handled the "stand-off " with the attacker Vince Li.

I will quote from the article your questions:

deDelley said an RCMP officer told her that the estimated time between the escape of the Greyhound passengers and driver, and trapping the killer on the bus - with the man finally exiting through a window - was about three hours.

"Why didn't they do something in that three hours, rather than having my son locked in with this maniac who, there was no question, had done this? And (they) allowed him to defile my son's body in the way that he did? What was their game plan? Why did they wait for him to throw himself out a window or fall out of it?"

She said and I quote "But that time frame is not working for me"

Mrs deDelley, that time frame isn't working for alot of us.

I posed a number of questions in a previous post on August 6/08 titled: Questions about the greyhound incident.

Below is the first question asked on Aug 6/08

"First: the police response to the attack, why did they do nothing, not get on the bus, not shoot the attacker through the window, nothing? I don't understand that. Not that I am bloodthirsty or anything, I am not even a proponent of the death penalty. But, what I cannot wrap my head around is that no action was taken to subdue the attacker, until he had broken a window and lept out of the bus"

Sounds alot like your questions Mrs deDelley's ?

When Vince Li and Tim McLean were the only persons left on the bus, why did the RCMP not move to subdue Vince Li? Why did they allow him to desecrate that young mans body and stand by? There were options: tear gas, pepper spray, tasers, and last of all guns. We know that the RCMP has access to all these options. The RCMP has tasered , tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed with impunity in other instances, where the circumstances were less horrendous then this. Which makes this all the harder to understand.

The time line of the incident is questionable, particularly the 3 hour time window for the stand-off, as explained to Mrs deDelley by the rcmp officer.

"the estimated time between the escape of the Greyhound passengers and driver, and trapping the killer on the bus - with the man finally exiting through a window - was about three hours"
There seems to be two timelines, one put forth by the CBC:
(I'll come back to this one later.)
And one, that I'll put together here for you based on a number of different sources.

The first being a Globe and Mail news story
How a madman's blade cut Tim McLean's reunion short
JOE FRIESEN - Friday, August 01 -10:16 PM -Breaking News

"It was from Brandon, Man., some time before 8 p.m. that he sent the longest flurry of texts, she said. He planned to go see his father, collect his pet iguana from a friend and wanted to visit Ms. Storey later that night. After their relationship ended, he became like a brother to her, she said, and he was particularly devoted to her daughter, April. In his last message, Mr. McLean said his phone was dying and he was going to charge it when he got to Portage la Prairie.

Ten minutes later, his accused killer, 40-year-old Vincent Li, changed seats, making his way to the last row of the bus and sitting next to Mr. McLean. Witnesses said the younger man, barely 5 foot 5 and 125 pounds, had fallen asleep with his headphones on, his cheek resting against the window, while Zorro played on the bus's television screen."

Without warning, witnesses said, a man stood up and stabbed Mr. McLean several times in the throat and torso, sending passengers scrambling off the bus.

From the RCMP website:

Homicide on Greyhound Bus near Portage La Prairie, Manitoba
Statement by S/Sgt Steve Colwell, D Division
July 31, 2008
14:00 hrs
Winnipeg, Manitoba

1: Re: Homicide on Greyhound Bus near Portage La Prairie, Manitoba
• On the evening of July 30, 2008, at approximately 8:30 p.m. (local time), Portage La Prairie RCMP were advised that a male subject had been stabbed on a Greyhound bus traveling eastbound on Highway #1 (Trans Canada Highway) approximately 20 kms West of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.

This notification to the rcmp, corresponds with the time frame set out in the Globe and Mail article, see above. Tim Mclean sends a flurry of text messages before 8:00 p.m. Some ten minutes later Vince Li , changes seats, moving to sit next to Tim Mclean. Shortly thereafter Vince Li begins stabbing a dozing Tim Mclean. If one assumes the stabbing began within ten minutes of the seat change, that would line up pretty well with the call to the RCMP coming in, according to their own press release at approximately 8:30 p.m.
Continuing on with the press release:

• RCMP officers immediately attended the scene and secured the bus, which was parked on the side of the highway. At this time victim and the suspect were still inside the bus. The driver and the remainder of the passengers had safely exited the bus prior to police arrival.

Would this not have placed the RCMP on this scene within approx 20 minutes? Meaning they would have been at the bus at, if not before nine pm?? Assuming driving 80 kms an hour, a distance of 20 kms is an approx 15 minute drive and adding an additional 5 minutes of grace, let's call it? When they arrived on the scene, all the passengers and driver have safely exited the bus prior to their arrival. Back to the press release:

• Attending RCMP officers observed the suspect walking around the inside of the bus. When attempts to have the suspect exit the bus and surrender to police proved to be unsuccessful, additional resources, including the RCMP “D” Division Emergency Response Team (ERT) and a Negotiator Team were called in to assist.

• The highway was closed in both directions to ensure the safety of first responders, the other bus passengers and driver.

• At 1:28 a.m., the suspect, a 40 year old male, believed to be from out of province, broke a window and jumped out of the bus. He was immediately subdued and arrested without incident. He is currently in RCMP custody. His identity will not being released at this time.

Question: How could the rcmp inform Mrs deDelley that the time of 3 hours, from passengers and driver exiting the bus, to Vince Li jumping through the window, was the actual one, when it doesn't seem possible? From their own press release, they acknowledge that by time they arrived on the scene, the bus was clear of drivers and passengers. They were called at 8:30 p.m. , with an assumed drive length of approx 20 kms and approx drive time of , being generous, 30 minutes to drives 20 kms. If this is correct, that puts them on the scene at 9:00 p.m. and Vince Li jumping out of the bus at 1:28 a.m. This is not a 3 hour time window, by any stretch of the imagination, this is infact an almost 4 1/2 hour time window.

Remember the CBC timeline I mentioned? It has the stabbing taking place at approx 9:00 pm they acknowledge it is an estimate, and given the Globe & Mail story and the RCMP media release, it is likely the wrong time, but let's say, for the sake of the argument the stabbing took place a half an hour later, that would still have the RCMP at the scene at 9:30, with passengers and driver no longer on the bus, and would still leave the stand-off window at 4 hours . Still an hour longer then Tim McLeans mother was informed of.

Like I said Mrs deDelley, there are only more questions. None of this is going to give you peace of mind, but if it strengthens your resolve, knowing that you are not alone in asking these questions, that can be a good thing.


  1. Great post Pen,

    Have you tried to reach the RCMP yourself with any of these questions?

    It's clear the press isn't doing it.

    I think you have hit a nail on the head wrt the timeline and why the cops allowed further mutilation of Tim's body.

    It is inexcusable.

    ~ Buffy

  2. Awesome post, penny. There is definitely something wrong with the RCMP, as with most cops everywhere. Maybe it was the shock and thrill of it all, maybe it was fear... which would just be stupid considering they are heavily armed compared to Li who just had a knife and scissors (and eventually threw them out the window).

    Also, what gets to me the most is that the media was there before the RCMP, so somehow the media knew who the victim was... the RCMP can't say that they had to take the time to identify the body then, because apparently it was already identified.

    It's somehow allowable for the media to hound the family for weeks, yet now that things have died down a bit and they have questions, the police are offering no explanation.

    I hope answers turn up. Even though Li's next court appearance is probably going to revolve around him and his mentality, hopefully something will still surface that will give the family some answers.

  3. Thanks Maggie and S:

    When I read the news yesterday, with the three hour timeline, I just got so annoyed.

    I had done the digging, checking all the news stories and the rcmp website, a couple of weeks back.

    So when I read the mother recounting what the rcmp had said, I was stunned to say the least.

  4. Wouldn't it be great if Tim McLeans family could actually read this and know, they are not the only ones questioning the time line?

  5. effie and nobody:

    just going to move the conversation on to this one.

    I relistened to Garnet Caton;
    It still strikes me as odd, when asked about being a soldier,

    he says" I don't really want to get to far into that"


    He says that Li had a cigarette with a girl, went out and had a smoke with her?

    Still asking who was she?

    and the whole laptop thing , still has me perplexed.

    I also noticed, at the original trial, it was noted that Li has spent 4 days in a Canadian psychiatric institure, no details known.

    where? when? diagnosis?
    4 days isn't very long for a schizophrenic, requiring hospitalization usually for weeks while meds are adjusted?

    Also he spoke mandarin,?
    Is this the language of the higher classes?
    as opposed to cantonese?
    this is also what I read, if so, who was Mr LI?

  6. Hey Pen,

    As for Mandarin it's merely the language of the Northern Chinese. But it's also the official language of China and spoken throughout the country, even in Hong Kong. In Mandarin, 'Mandarin' is called 'putonghua' which means 'people's language'.

    Cantonese is spoken in the South in Hong Kong and Guangzhou (which used to be called 'Canton' thus Cantonese). It's merely a dialect. In China, Cantonese is called Guangdonghua, since Guangdong is the name of the region. Shanghai has its own, Shanghaihua. One hour from Shanghai in Suzhou they have Suzhouhua. An hour outside of Suzhou there is another, (the name of which I forget - something-hua).

    All of them are identical when written but completely incomprehensible when spoken. Cantonese is common in the West because all our early migrants came from that region. In China it's just another dialect.

    BTW. Northern Chinese are tall, as tall as Westerners. No really! Furthermore the women are every bit as bosomy as Western women. Also the diet includes as much bread as rice. All of our stereotypes about the Chinese are based on the Southerners who are actually not that representative.

    Sorry, once I get lecturing I can't stop...

  7. Also apropos the thread in the previous post -

    Does anyone remember how in the Menezes shooting in London (that Brazilian electrician they shot eight times in the head) there was one particular witness who was all over the TV and in the press? He was responsible for saying that Menezes was wearing a heavy jacket, in spite of it being a hot day, behaved suspiciously, and seemed to have 'wires' hanging out of his mid-riff.

    Then it turned out that it wasn't a hot day and that Menezes was only wearing a light denim jacket (which is to say, was dressed sensibly), had merely sat there like any normal person, and had no wires or anything else sticking out of anything.

    Since the witness gave his name (can't remember it now) people put it into google and found a fellow of the same name and age who worked for the police (forensics was it? can't remember). The day after this discovery the web page disappeared and so did he.

    Other witnesses that got almost no press coverage told very different stories. Menezes had walked, not run, into the tube train, he hadn't leapt up but sat there stunned, and that the shots of the police had not been rapid but had been spaced out with maybe a second between each shot. Bang -elephant one, bang - elephant two, bang - elephant three, bang - elephant four, on and on for eight/nine rounds. Go figure that one out.

    Anyway, the point is that the main media witness lied his arse off and seemed to be in the employ of the police. And then there's this bloke telling us he's a spook, behaving evasively, and frankly not sounding credible. What are the odds of Li committing suicide and there being no trial? Any takers?

  8. I thought it was odd that they asked him about being a soldier... maybe he didn't want to talk about it because he thought it was odd and not really relevant to the issue at hand, or maybe he figured they were trying to be like "well, soldier, why didn't you stop this guy?"

    They still need to figure out who the girl was and what was said. That's just weird.

    And the laptop thing is definitely suspicious, because it was supposedly high-priced to begin with, almost new I read in some reports, yet he sold it for $50-$60 or so? Apparently he knew something bad was about to happen in his life, and he didn't care much what amount the laptop was sold for. Being in possession of the knife and scissors was just strange, and also, if he was such an ideal employee like everyone has said, then ditching work and just going on a random trip was something strange as well. This was definitely premeditated. Even if he is severely mentally disturbed, he shouldn't be underestimated and made out to be incapable of planning something crazy.

    For some reason (not sure why really), I don't see him committing suicide. I think this whole thing will be dragged on for a while, but I truly hope the family gets the answers they deserve.

  9. Hi Penny:

    Garnet Caton had spent five years in the Canadian Forces apparently, and now a seismic driller.


  10. taken from:Canadian Press and Globe and Mail Update

    August 1, 2008 at 7:34 PM EDT
    Re Garnet Caton & Cody Olmstead-Witnesses Interviewed

    Mr. Caton, who served five years in the Canadian Forces and was closest to the attacker, paused before leaving, torn momentarily between concern for his own safety and the thought of abandoning the bleeding victim.

    He turned to another man nearby and asked for his help. "I said, 'Give me a hand and let's get this guy.' And the other guy took off," he said.

    It was only moments later that the victim's screams went silent. Mr. Caton knew he was too late.

    Cody Olmstead, who was on his way home to Nova Scotia.

    Mr. Olmstead may have been the last person to speak to the victim before he was killed. He said they exchanged pleasantries, but not much more. The young man, who was about 5 foot 8 and 150 pounds, was dressed in baggy, hip-hop clothing, passengers said. "He seemed to be all right. I didn't get to know him," he said. "He just told me where he was going. I told him where I was going." At first, Mr. Olmstead said, he thought it was a regular fistfight.

    But when somebody yelled "knife," everyone started to run. "What can you do when a man's got a knife the size of, you know, it's a big knife. So we just tried to stay out of the way," he said. He said he didn't notice any tension between the two men beforehand, or even a minor incident that could have sparked a confrontation.

    "No, there was no tension. The guy got on the bus, sat down beside the fellow. The fellow offered him the seat, woke up, said, 'Yeah, go ahead,' fell back asleep. Next thing you know, he's getting stabbed repetitively," he said


  11. god: you guys are great.

    wrt to Caton.
    I thought about, him being the main witness, the man with the story.
    I see by other comments on line some people are also suspicious of him.

    thanks nobody for clearing up the issue of the mandarin as opposed to cantonese

    interesting nobody that you note the dialects are identical when written? Because the note on his laptop , the letters, were claimed to have been written in mandarin.
    If they are identical how would anyone differentiate?

    As for Li committing suicide, the longer he stays alive, now, the less likely, I thought he would have done it already, now I am not so sure.
    I have a feeling he is heavily medicated, possibly with thorazine, (guessing) that would explain his demeanor in court.

    s. the laptop incident bugs me also and the drug useage and the woman on the bus.

  12. thanks effie, and thanks for the other article, I noted the calls for increased security, they have been more subdued as of late, but Transport Canada and Greyhound have been in negotiations on just this kind of thing for quite some time now, I have an article saved and I will post it for you

  13. Sorry, there are two Chinese character sets. Mainland China simplified their's many years ago. These can be read throughout China, regardless of dialect. Hong Kong however held on to their 'traditional' characters. All DVD's in China carry two sets of Chinese subtitles - simplified and traditional. I've never asked, but I assume that Hong Kongers could probably make a fair fist of reading the simplified characters and vice versa for the Mainlanders.

    I assume that since Li spoke Mandarin the cops merely announced that the characters were 'Mandarin'. This is somewhat imprecise but not actually wrong. It would be more precise to say that Li spoke Mandarin and that the text in his computer was written in Chinese.

  14. ok, that sort of clears it up, but, then this story just keeps going and going, like the energizer rabbit.