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Someone has information on Port Alberni man's death, police believe

Jan 25 2012

As relatives attend the funeral today of a 75-year-old Port Alberni man who, they say, was killed in a robbery in his home, police say there is a "group of individuals" who has information about his death.

Marvin Edmond Hankins was found dead in his home on Fourth Avenue by a relative Jan. 13. RCMP have not disclosed the cause of death, but his family says he was killed in a robbery.

Dale Douglas Sr., who is married to Hankins's 31-year-old daughter, Jennifer Amos, said his father-in-law owned nothing of great value, "nothing that's worth a man's life." "It's frustrating with any crime, especially when someone is killed," Douglas said.

Port Alberni RCMP and the Vancouver Island Major Crime Unit are investigating, but have released few details about what happened. RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Jen Allan said some items were taken from the home, but would not say whether the thieves broke in or entered through an unlocked door. Allan would not say whether police suspect more than one person.

Detectives believe some people are holding back important information that could lead to an arrest, Allan said. "We believe there is a group of individuals within our community who have specific information that we wish to have and as such we've made the appeal for these individuals to come forward to investigators," Allan said. She would not say if she was referring to a criminal group in Port Alberni.

Investigators are looking for similarities between Hankins' death and the robbery and assault of 83-year-old Reino Koivunen three days earlier.

With the culprits in both the attacks still on the loose, Allan said residents in Port Alberni should be vigilant.

"We don't specifically know what we're dealing with here and, as such, members of the community and seniors especially are being reminded to place safety as a top priority and make sure their homes are always secure," Allan said.

While Hankins lived alone, Douglas said he and his wife and their four children visited him several times a week.

"He's always either in touch by phone or we stop in and see him," Douglas said.

Born in Bentley, Alta., Hankins moved to the West Coast when he was 25. Amos's mother died when she was three and Hankins raised her alone, Douglas said. Amos was too upset to talk.

Hankins worked in the trades all his life, as a mechanic, tow-truck driver and construction worker. He had also worked as a property manager and recently was a caretaker at GK Apartments, a block from his home on Fourth Avenue.

The funeral takes place at the Chapel of Memories at 1 p.m. and there will be a celebration of Hankins's life at the Port Alberni Friendship Centre at 2 p.m.

Anyone with information should contact the Port Alberni RCMP at 250-723-2424 or pass on information anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or www.avcrimestoppers.ca. Allan said a tipster can earn up to $2,000 for providing information that leads to an arrest.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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