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.

 

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

Retooled Oak Bay hoops team starts strong

‘Not the tallest,’ but Oak Bay are off to big start

Saanich seeks contractors for Shelbourne Street upgrade project

The three-phase project is expected to begin in 2020

PHOTOS: West Shore students rally for 10,000 Tonight food drive

Students, community members gather, sort food donations

UPDATED: Royal Jubilee gets 15 more patient beds for Greater Victoria end-of-life care

New patient beds in hospice and acute palliative care to be in place by spring 2020

Cannabis cultivation: Former North Saanich chicken farm goes into pot

North Saanich would join a small, growing number of communities with marijuana growing

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

POLL: Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

The lights are up, holiday shoppers are bustling through the streets and… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Dec. 10

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

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

One man dead after car crash in Nanaimo

One person died, another was injured in the accident which happened Wednesday on Nanaimo Lakes Road

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

Most Read