Tanya Young still thinks she hears noises outside her Metchosin home in the wee morning hours.
It’s only been a few days since West Shore RCMP officially charged William Head’s prison escapees with the murder of 60-year-old Martin Payne, but it’s been nearly a year since Young has felt completely safe in her community.
Occasionally, she checks the security cameras she and her husband installed to make sure there’s nothing to worry about at night, but safety is an utmost concern for the mother of two. She’s also bought floodlights for the property.
“We had just moved into our forever home with our toddler and baby,” said Young, who moved to Metchosin a month before the prison escape. “[When] the police came to our home to ask questions we were completely freaked. With it being so close to home it was frightening.”
On June 13, police announced the charges of first-degree murder against James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage.
“The real tragedy is that a sweet and kind man lost his life,” said Paula Leweke, a Metchosin resident for the past 11 years. “I believe the whole situation was totally mismanaged.”
Cid Lang, a resident since July 2019, said one of the biggest reasons she moved to Metchosin was to get away from a federal prison she felt unsafe living nearby in California.
“I thought the biggest issues we had to worry about were bears and cougars,” Lang quipped. “I love this community so much and I didn’t want to constantly have to be on guard, but now I feel afraid.”
While Shari Rourke believes the escape and following murder was tragic, she doesn’t expect it to happen again.
“I 100 per cent feel safe in my neighbourhood,” said the resident who grew up in the Mary Hill area, a former range and training area for Canadian Forces Esquimalt right across from the prison.
“As long as the prison has the opportunity to ensure that dangerous felons with a high risk to re-offend are not placed in it, we do not need to worry.”