Young victims of Oak Bay homicide were ‘lively, energetic and silly girls’

Spokesperson for the family has identified the dead as 6-year-old Chloe and 4-year-old Aubrey Berry

Sisters 6-year-old Chloe Berry and 4-year-old Aubrey Berry have been identified as the victims of the Christmas Day double homicide in Oak Bay.

The community is responding to the tragedy by offering support however they can: churches are opening their doors to mourners, residents are organizing food for first responders, Mayor Nils Jensen has announced a candlelight vigil on Willows Beach where the girls often played.

“I understand the family has asked for privacy so while it is very important that we support them, it is critical that we do so in a way that respects their wishes,” said Jensen.

The children’s mother Sarah Cotton is requesting privacy at this time asking close friend Trisha Lees to act as spokesperson for the family.

“Sarah has a couple of us that have been with her ever since, taking care of her as best we can,” said Lees. “We are very grateful for the remarkable outpouring of support from everywhere.”

Cotton is well-known in the community, having worked in communications at Tartan Group, BC Pension Corporation and BC Ferries – where she met Andrew Berry, the father of the two girls.

“She is very social and well-liked. Her girls were very much like her,” said Lees. “They were lively, energetic, and silly girls.”

Chloe was in Grade 1 at Christ Church Cathedral School and had recently fallen in love with horseback riding.

Aubrey was in her final year of preschool at St. Christopher’s Montessori School and Lees said she was just making that transition from toddler to little girl.

Both girls were artistic and loved to draw but were also balls of energy that enjoyed spending time at Willows Beach.

“There will be a service eventually. We are just starting to think about that,” said Lees.

On Christmas Day, the children were in the care of their father at his apartment on the corner of Beach Drive and Goodwin Street. The children were supposed to go home to their mother’s on Christmas afternoon but they never arrived. Cotton contacted the Oak Bay Police, who responded to Berry’s apartment where the bodies of the two girls as well as an injured man were found. The man was taken to hospital. Details on his injuries have not been released.

Cotton and Berry had spent years locked in a custody battle over the two girls.

In a May 2017 judgement, the judge decided that the two parents would share custody, although it was decided that Cotton would be allotted more time with the girls.

Cotton and Berry separated in in September 2013 and shared custody of the two girls.

The judge noted that “the Father is a loving Father who has much to offer his daughters” and that he was “not persuaded that the Father’s displays of poor judgment regarding the children have reached the level that the children should be deprived of significant parenting time with their Father.”

The judge did express concerns about Berry’s care of the girls. Those concerns included a failure “to ensure that the girls were using car seats and life-jackets properly, and that he left a child at a distance in a stroller in a public place.”

The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit is expected to be at the scene of the crime for the remainder of the week. The BC Coroners Service is investigating the deaths.

Related: Oak Bay Police find two bodies on Christmas Day


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

double homicideoak bayOak Bay double homicide

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A monument grows outside an apartment building on Beach Drive where two young girls were found dead Christmas Day. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

A monument grows outside an apartment building on Beach Drive where two young girls were found dead Christmas Day. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

A monument grows outside an apartment building on Beach Drive where two young girls were found dead Christmas Day. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Just Posted

PHOTOS: BC Children’s lottery offers luxury downtown Victoria home as a prize

The Choices Lotto has luxury homes across the province

Island teen climber seizes last opportunity to qualify in 2020 Olympic games

Brennan Doyle, 16, heads to L.A. for Pan American Climbing Championships

University of Victoria profs take home prestigious national teaching award

Brent Mainprize and Edōsdi–Judy Thompson recognized as a 2020 3M National Teaching Fellows

Victoria modular housing complex built to house homeless Indigenous women

Spa’Qun, or ‘Flower House’ will provide shelter and cultural support

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay Victoria man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Alleged shoplifter caught on camera at Sidney boutique

Staff at Cameron Rose Gifts seek the public’s help locating woman

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

UPDATE: Lockdown lifted at Nanaimo high school following threats

Nearby elementary school was in hold-and-secure

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read