Michael Drynock (left) and Jayson Gilbert have been charged with first degree murder in the death of Branton Regner. (RCMP handout/Facebook photos)

Murder charges laid after body pulled from Fraser River ID’ed as missing man

Accused also face one count each of attempted murder in connection with Rudy Johnson Bridge incident

New charges of first degree murder have been levied against two Williams Lake area men after autopsy results positively identified a body discovered in the Fraser River last month west of the city.

Jayson Gilbert and Michael Drynock, previously charged with two counts each of attempted murder and kidnapping in connection with an incident at the Rudy Johnson Bridge, are now also charged with the murder of Branton Regner, 34.

Williams Lake RCMP and the North District Major Crime Unit, working with the BC Coroners Service, made the announcement Thursday, confirming what many suspected following the discovery near the Sheep Creek Bridge on Tuesday Aug. 27, 2019, west of Williams Lake and about 40 kilometres downstream of the Rudy Johnson Bridge.

Read more: RCMP recover body from Fraser River near Sheep Creek Bridge

Regner was first reported missing following an incident on the Rudy Johnson Bridge on Friday, Aug. 9 2019.

On Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019 the BC Prosecution Services formally charged Gilbert and Drynock with the first degree murder of Branton Regner, said Insp. Jeff Pelley, OIC Williams Lake RCMP detachment, who along with teams of officers has been working round the clock on the Rudy Johnson Bridge case as well as the homicide of Richard ‘Savage’ Duncan who was shot in his driveway in Williams Lake Aug. 6 and died in hospital.

No one has been charged in the homicide of Duncan, 43, at this time, however, Duncan’s death and the Rudy Johnson Bridge incident are believed to be connected.

“The rapid progress of the arrests and multiple charges involving these two accused are a direct result of the collaborative investigative effort between Williams Lake RCMP and the North District Major Crime,” Insp. Pelley said. “These investigations are ongoing and continue to be a priority within our community.”

Pelley said the investigations into the murder of Regner, as well as the murder of Duncan on Aug. 6, are ongoing. If anyone has information on either investigation, please contact the Williams Lake RCMP at 250-392-6211 or Crime Stoppers at 1 800-222-8477.

Gilbert and Drynock remain in custody and are scheduled to make their next court appearances on Sept. 25 in Williams Lake Provincial Court. Both face one count each of attempted murder and kidnapping. Publication bans were imposed on both cases shortly after they made their first court appearances.

Read more: Links probable between homicide, missing persons investigation in Williams Lake



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An autopsy has positively identified last month’s body discovered in the Fraser River as Branton Regner. Photo submitted

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