SURREY, B.C. – Homicide investigators say they want to talk to anyone who recognizes suspicious behaviour that could help identify the suspect who killed a 13-year-old girl in a “random attack” in Burnaby, B.C.
Marrisa Shen’s body was found in a wooded area in Central Park near her home just hours after she was reported missing last July.
A spokesman with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said Tuesday that its members have consulted with the RCMP’s behavioural sciences group to develop a profile of the girl’s killer.
The profile suggests the attacker likely lived near the park where Shen’s body was found.
Cpl. Frank Jang said the suspect may have unexpectedly moved from area after the death, uncharacteristically avoided the park, withdrew from social activities, paid close attention to media coverage of the girl’s death and changed his or her pattern of drug or alcohol use.
“Perhaps you live in that area of Central Park, in and around that area, you know somebody who frequents that park and suddenly they don’t walk through that park any more. That might be suspicious. We want to talk to you,” he said.
The suspect may have unexpectedly missed work or scheduled appointments as well, Jang said.
There is still strong public interest in the case and Jang said significant police resources continue to be used “to tackle everything on this investigation.”
Following Shen’s death, police had said they identified 90 persons of interest.
Jang wouldn’t say how many people remained on that list, adding it was “fluid” and some names were crossed off while other have been added with new tips from the public.
Whether the suspect left the region remains unclear, Jang said, and it’s possible the suspect moved back to the area of the crime.
People in the area are cautioned to remain vigilant, but not paranoid, Jang said.
“This was a random attack. I know that’s unsettling to all of us,” he said, adding that residents always need to be mindful of their personal safety.
Jang said investigators have kept a close relationship with the girl’s family and would have liked to have had answers for them nine months ago.
“But in homicide investigations, the way that IHIT operates, we follow the evidence. We don’t make speculations or assumptions.”
The profile is the latest effort to solve the murder after the homicide team launched a website in January containing details of the investigation with all available video clips of Shen’s movements before she disappeared.
The video shows the girl holding the door open for a man as she walks into a Tim Hortons just after 6 p.m. on July 18.
About 90 minutes later, she throws away her garbage and walks out the door.
Police had previously said Shen was last seen on the south side of Central Boulevard walking westbound and crossing McKay Avenue in Burnaby at 7:38 p.m.
Her body was found in the southeast corner of the park about six hours later. Police have not said how she died.