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UPDATE: RCMP say vicious beating of gay man at St. Leon Hot Springs a hate crime
RCMP say a man was "viciously beaten" at St. Leon Hot Springs north of Nakusp by another man after the assailant found out the victim was a homosexual.
Police report the unidentified victim was left with cuts and bruises over most of his body after the beating, and one large cut over his nose. Cpl. Bryson Hill of Nakusp said the victim was not hospitalized or suffered any permanent injuries.
However, Hill said the assault left the victim virtually unconscious, and he couldn't remember what had happened other than waking up in the snow. His partner watched the incident from a nearby bush he was hiding in and described the assault to police.
"The biggest damage he's going to receive and the partner is the emotional, psychological trauma," Hill said. "To be beaten when you're out in the wilderness and left virtually unconscious takes its toll."
The incident took place on Dec. 29, around 8:30 p.m. St. Leon Hot Springs is a natural, outdoor hot spring located about 25 kilometres north of Nakusp off of Highway 23.
The alleged hate crime took place after the victim and his partner were relaxing in the hot springs after skiing to the hot spring. While they were there, two other men and a woman showed up on snowmobiles and joined them.
The victim and his partner struck up a conversation with one member of the group who identified himself as Terry, and said he was visiting from Calgary. The other two were on the other side of the pool while Terry chatted with the victim and his partner, and that's when he found out they were gay.
RCMP report that Terry got out of the pool and stated to his two friends "that he was going to kill the two men."
The victim's partner got out of the pool and ran into a bush to hide, but the victim stayed.
"Unprovoked, he was viciously beaten as he begged for mercy," states Hill.
Police report the victim was left alone in the snow. Eventually his partner came back to help him into the pool as the suspect and two friends left on their snowmobiles.
The victim and his partner are not from the Nakusp area, Hill said.
"One is from the United States, and one is from Burnaby," he told the Arrow Lakes News.
Hill said it took police three weeks to report this because they were investigating every avenue they could before asking for public assistance.
Terry is described as a Caucasian male standing at about 6 feet tall (180 cm), around 44-years-old with a stalky, muscular build. Police say he had defined muscles and has a short flat-top hairstyle.
Police say the man has a tattoo of a bird silhouette on his chest that is about two-inches in diameter.
Police believe the suspect is from Calgary and may have been visiting the Nakusp or Revelstoke area.
"Police believe that the motive for this crime was one of hate and ignorance relating to the victim's sexual orientation and are urging anyone with information to come forward," Hill said. "This type of crime should not be tolerated in our country."