Three charged with extortion, kidnapping in Cowichan

Three suspects, including a prolific offender, are facing serious charges after a home invasion in a Duncan residence on Dec. 16.

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP were called to a residence on Marsh Road around 4:15 p.m. that day, but were quickly rerouted to a home on Cowichan Lake Road. On their way to the second location, they located the first victim, a 41-year-old man, and when they arrived, the found the second victim, a 33-year-old woman.

The couple, both from Duncan, had been assaulted and held against their will, and had suffered some injuries, but not enough to require medical treatment.

Among the four suspects was designated prolific offender Margaret Conrad, 36, who faces two counts of breaking and entering and committing an offence, and one each of breaking and entering with intent, kidnapping with intent to confine, extortion, armed robbery, and possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000. Conrad remains in custody at a women’s detention centre on the Lower Mainland.

Also charged was 20-year-old Tyler Wickes, who faces two counts of breaking and entering and committing an offence, and one each of breaking and entering with intent, kidnapping with intent to confine, and extortion. Wickes was released from the Vancouver Island Regional Correction Centre just two days before the incident, having served time for robbery. He was sent back to VIRCC to wait for his next court appearance.

Katrina Kuwert, 29, also faces charges of kidnapping with intent to confine, extortion, and assault. She was released from custody and will make her next court

appearance on Jan. 6. A fourth suspect was released without charges.

"Through our investigation, we believe that Conrad, Wickes, and Kuwert targeted this couple," Const. Scott Harder of the detachment’s General Investigation Section said. "There is no reason for the general public to fear for their safety."