U.S. citizen beaten unconscious at Canadian hot springs because he is gay

A hot pool at St. Leon Hot Springs

A hot pool at St. Leon Hot Springs

NAKUSP, British Columbia — Canadian police are searching for a suspect in an apparent gay bashing of a 48-year-old U.S. citizen who was beaten unconscious and left nearly naked in the snow after telling another man he was gay.

A hot pool at St. Leon's Hot Springs

The victim and a companion were cross country skiing when they stopped to relax in one of the hot pools in St. Leon’s Hot Springs north of Nakusp, British Columbia on Dec. 29.

While they were there, two other men and a woman showed up on snowmobiles and joined them, according to Corporal Bryson Hill, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Hill told reporters that once the suspect — who police believe is named Terry — learned the two men were gay, he allegedly told his friends at the other end of the pool “that he was going to kill the two men.”

The victim’s partner fled to the bushes upon overhearing the initial threat, said Hill, but “unfortunately, the victim didn’t hear (the threat) or didn’t get out in time.”

“The beating lasted for a little bit of time, where it ended up about 50 feet away from the hot springs,” Hill said. “The victim obviously attempted to get away, but was continually kicked and punched and pushed to the ground as he attempted to flee. He was essentially left unconscious in the snow, in his shorts and in a wilderness environment.”

Investigators have determined that there is no evidence to suggest the attack was motivated by any motive other than homophobic hate.

Hill noted that the vicitm suffered bruising to most of his body and a cut on his nose.

“Physically, he’s fine,” Hill said of the victim. “All his wounds will heal … but the biggest scar he’s going to have is emotional, for both of them. You can only imagine the fear that one would have to go through to be beaten in the wilderness and left in the snow … disoriented and not even knowing where the hot springs were.”

A police spokesman said the incident wasn’t publicized earlier because the RCMP were hoping to locate the suspect without going public to avoid further distress to the victim and his partner.

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