Suspect in brutal assault on a local girl arrested in Nanaimo

Zachary Holland, a fugitive from justice who was wanted by police for his brutal assault on a young woman from Edmonton and the attempted murder of another young woman in that city, was arrested on Vancouver Island this week.

By David F. Rooney

An Edmonton man accused of assaulting a young woman from Revelstoke and later attempting to kill a transgendered girl was arrested in Nanaimo on Tuesday after eluding police since July.

A statement from the Nanaimo RCMP detachment said Zachary Holland, 25, was arrested n Tuesday night, after he was found causing a disturbance by being intoxicated in the street in downtown Nanaimo.
Holland initially provided a false name and claimed to have no ID.  But when RCMP sent his fingerprints to the federal data bank of fingerprints in Ottawa, they learned he was wanted for an attempted murder in Edmonton last summer.   It is believed Holland had been living in Nanaimo for a number of weeks under an assumed name.
Holland, then a student at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton,  had a relationship with a young woman from Revelstoke until one night last spring.

That young woman, who prefers to be identified only as Megan, was home watching TV and wanted to be alone. Holland snapped and physically attacked her.

“He choked me, them took out a knife and told me if I didn’t get in the car he’d slit my throat and let me watch myself bleed out and die,” she said in an interview.

The pretty young woman said that at one point when she tried to get out of the vehicle, Holland grabbed her by the hair and, with the vehicle still moving, dragged her more than two kilometers along a city road.

“I don’t remember a lot,” she said.

Fifteen people witnessed portions of the assault and called police who responded in time to save her life.

As it was she was left with a broken ankle, pelvis and collar bone and required more than 100 stitches, scores of staples in her face, head and legs. The road rash on portions of her body was appalling; whole swatches of her skin were rubbed off. Megan spent 40 days in hospital and required two operations to correct some of her injuries. And although she now appears, at first glance, to be completely healed, she still needs two more operations and now suffers from a lack of trust in people she doesn’t know.

Holland was charged with assault and released on bail. He later beat a transgendered girl over the head with the heavy ceramic lid of a toilet tank and left her for dead. He then set fire to her Edmonton apartment and fled the city. The girl suffered extensive burns to her body before she was rescued from the flaming apartment.

To say Megan is relieved at Holland’s arrest is probably an understatement. For the last number of months she has lived with the fear that Holland might decide to pay her visit.

Now she can breathe easy.