Taylor Van Diest was eighteen years old and lived in Armstrong, British Columbia, she left her home on Halloween 2011, dressed as a zombie to go to her friends house at 6PM for some trick-a-treating. Her walk to her friends consisted of walking beside small railway track in a small farming town. She wasn’t expecting it to get dark so soon and the road she was walking down was dark and secluded. With no one else with her, and no one around, she text one of her friends “being creeped”. That was the last communication that Taylor ever made.
It was believed that moments later, she was brutally attacked and left for dead in some bushes. Two witnesses said they had heard screams that night, in the direction of the crime scene. A woman named Delphine Burylo said that was actually outside her home, checking on the pumpkins she had carved for decoration when she heard two screams. “The first one sounded more distraught then the second one”.
Natasha Bellows a cleaner at the nearby school was visiting Burylo and heard the screams. She said it sounded like a scream you do when someone scares you “really bad”.
She was found three hours after the brutal attack, laying face down and barely alive in the bushes, she was rushed straight to hospital with her family and friends soon after her in their cars but unfortunately, Taylor never regained consciousness and died hours after reaching the hospital.
Dr. John Stefanelli came do conduct the autopsy of the teenager, three days after she was murdered. He said she died from “multiple blunt force trauma” to the head. He said there were a total of six blows to the head, bad enough that they tore her scalp and fractured her skull. But it didn’t end there, he also said that Taylor had been strangled and that she had evidence on her to show that she resisted, she fought back. He couldn’t determine through the autopsy in what order the injuries occurred, whether she was strangled first or after the blows to the head, but when she was strangled, she was conscious and fighting to stay alive.
Taylor had cuts and bruises on her hands, broken fingers which showed that she had held her arms up to protect herself, which were struck by whatever weapon the killer had used. With the injuries that Taylor had, Stefanelli concluded that it was a heavy object, and he said it could have been a metal flashlight. He also said that there was a metal pole under her had at the scene, and some of the injuries could be linked with that, or at least in a way in which she could have possibly fallen back and hit her head on the pipe. One thing they knew for sure, Taylor in her attempt at fighting for her life, scratched her attacker which led there to be skin cells underneath her fingernails, a direct DNA to her attacker.
That attacker was twenty-five year old Matthew Foerster, who fled the province after the murder, but five months later with the help of the DNA under Taylor’s fingernails, Matthew was arrested in a motel room in Ontario. In a taped interview with police, Matthew admitted that he went to Armstrong looking for sex. He saw Taylor walking down a secluded road beside a railway and began following her with the intention of having sex with her.
The trial began in March 2014, which led to more information being found out about Matthew. In 2004, when he was eighteen, he sneaked into a home in Cherryville and came across a young woman who resided there. He slammed her head up against the wall and told her that he wanted her, she started to scream and he promptly left, leaving her to believe she was going to pass out from the knock on the head.
In 2005, Matthew went to a Kelowna escort agency called The Garden of Eden. Whilst there, he grabbed a sex worker by her hair and held a knife to her throat whilst she performed a sex act on him. He then bound and raped her, this was reported to police and DNA was collected, this was how Matthew was linked to the DNA under Tyler’s fingernails. Matthew served six years for these cases.
The prosecution claimed that Matthew went to Armstrong looking for sex as he stated and when he saw Tyler alone in a dark and secluded area, he followed with her the intention of raping her. When she started to scream, he hit her over the head with something heavy like a metal flashlight, then strangled her only to leave her in the bushes to die whilst he ran away.
His defence said that he wasn’t intending to rape her at all, he was hoping for consensual sex but when she resisted, he pushed her and she fell to the ground and hit her head on the metal pipe that was found at the crime scene. But due to his admittance for causing the injuries, saying that he hit her with a flashlight and then strangled him with both his shoelaces and his hand. The jury only ha one question to answer , not was he guilty or not, but what charge he should get; murder in the first-degree or manslaughter.
In May 2004, the jury found him guilty of first degree murder, a conviction that carries an automatic life sentence. The judge ruled that he would have to spend seventeen years in prison before he would be eligible for parole. This means that Matthew wouldn’t be able to apply for parole until April 4th, 2029.
It didn’t stop there either, Matthew’s sixty year old father was also arrested in relation to the murder and charged as an accessory to murder after the fact due to some of the evidence the police found, showing that he had lied for his son. After his son’s conviction, his father, Stephen Foerster was sentenced to three years. Evidence showed that three months after the murder, Stephen left his job and paid for a driving licence, social insurance number and a bank card for his son. When police spoke to Stephen about the whereabouts of his son, he told them he was away working on an oil rig, when he knew the truth that he was hiding out in Ontario.
Stephen and his son, Matthew kept in contact on disposable phones to actively avoid being traced and tracked, the police recorded that whilst in their communication Stephen told his son not to come home due to the police surveillance and that he needed to lay low.