UPDATED: Manhunt underway for suspect in assault, arson

 

A manhunt was underway Wednesday for a Langley man who allegedly attacked his family and burned down their home.

Police dubbed the incident a case of attempted murder.

A woman and two children survived the early morning attack, thought to be committed by the woman’s estranged husband.

Just after 1 a.m., a man broke into the home in the 19600 block of Wakefield Drive and started a fire, said Cpl. Holly Marks, spokesperson for the Langley RCMP.

The man then entered the wife’s bedroom and attacked her with a weapon, striking her in the head.

The victim’s daughter tried to intervene and was hit in the chest Marks said. 

Police are still trying to determine exactly what weapon was used in the attack.

The woman, her daughter and son were able to escape the home before the fire fully consumed it.

All three victims were taken to the hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries. Marks said the woman was alert and awake after the assault. Police are not saying at which hospital the victims are being treated.

Police were initially uncertain if the attacker had been killed in the three-alarm blaze that seriously damaged the Langley Meadows home. 

A preliminary search by the Langley Township Fire Department did not turn up a body, but it was not until later in the morning, once the ruins had cooled, that a full search could be done safely. The man apparently escaped the fire he set.

The victim’s husband was under a no-contact order and the two had been separated, Marks said.

Police are now looking for Andre Harvey Richard, 44, with an arrest warrant for breaching a condition of no contact with his estranged wife.

Richard is 5’8”, 201 lbs with a heavy build, very short dark hair, and possibly facial hair.

Police are now looking for a grey Saturn Relay minivan, license plate 804 HWC.

Anyone who sees the car or knows the location of Richard is advised not to approach him, Marks cautioned. They should call 911 or the Langley RCMP at 604-532-3200. To remain anonymous, call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

A spokesperson for Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter said she believed this attack could have been prevented by more forceful action by police.

“There are some cases where a no contact order is not enough,” said Hilla Kerner.

Police have said there were previous incidents of domestic violence, but Kerner didn’t know if the woman had been offered transitional housing.

Langley has its own transitional housing shelter for women and children, through the Ishtar Transition Housing Society. There are also a number of other such facilities, usually at confidential locations, across Metro Vancouver.

“More often than not, transition houses in the Lower Mainland are full,” said Kerner. Calls to groups like Vancouver Rape Relief will be answered, Kerner said, and the society will find somewhere safe for any caller by the end of the day.

Sometimes women choose to go to a shelter in another community to be farther away from their domestic abuser, Kerner said.

For local assistance, women can call 24 hours a day to the Ishtar Transition House at 604-530-9442 or the Libra Transition House at 604-857-5797.

Vancouver Rape Relief has a similar confidential line at 604-872-8212.

VictimLink BC is a toll free, confidential and multi-lingual number across the province, which provides immediate crisis support to victims of family and sexual violence. It can be reached at 1-800-563-8080 or for TTY, at 604-875-0885, or through email at VictimLinkBC@bc211.ca.

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