Rosemarie and Mark Surakka, the mother and step-father of Mission murder victim Lisa Dudley, finally got their daughter’s personal belongings back from the RCMP.
On Friday (June 21) afternoon, the Surakkas came out of the Abbotsford courthouse with the belongings, that they have waited years to receive.
However they didn’t get all the belongings. According to Rosemarie one cell phone is still missing from the list of items that were to be returned. She also didn’t receive the currency removed from the scene, but was told it was policy not to hand over cash and that a cheque for the amount would be mailed to her from the Receiver General.
“I have Lisa’s belongings in boxes, downstairs and I’m going to leave them in the boxes right now. I’ve looked at them all in the courthouse when the police brought them in to make sure it was all there,” said Rosemarie.
The Surakkas were originally hoping to get the belongings last Sunday (June 16) from the Mission RCMP Detachment. They had a court order stating the items were to be returned in 30 days – June 16 was the 31st day according to the order.
However, Mission’s evidence room is not open on Sunday and the couple were told the belongings had been moved to the Surrey RCMP detachment for pick up. The Surakkas said they would not travel to Surrey.
“I was hoping that this would have been finished last Sunday, you know, I had thought that would have been my freedom day. And then all this other stuff happened. They (RCMP) were disagreeing with me and telling me they were trying to accommodate me by taking the stuff out of the Mission detachment and taking it all the way over to Surrey and I live in Harrison.
“I thought maybe because its the last hurdle it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be the hardest,” said Rosemarie.
However, on Friday she received the belongings and is now breathing a sigh of relief.
“It was really heart wrenching to touch the cell phones. I mean, we used to talk on the phone for hours sometimes, so it was really hard to do. It’s all downstairs in boxes, in two boxes and I’m just going to leave it here for a few days and try and process everything that’s happened and clear my head.
It was in September 2008 that Lisa Dudley and her partner Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home.
McKay died at the scene, but Dudley, who was 37 at the time, stayed alive for four days before finally being discovered by a neighbour. She was airlifted to hospital, but died later that day.
The Mission officer investigating a shots-fired call at the couple’s home left the scene after being there for approximately 10 minutes, without going inside, and did not follow up the next day.
Four years later, RCMP Cpl. Mike White was reprimanded and docked one day’s pay following a review by the adjudication board.
Four men were eventually convicted in the pair’s death: Jack Woodruff, Justin MacKinnon, Bruce Main and Thomas Holden.
After 11 years, Rosemarie said she feels like it is 99.9 per cent over. She still wants to find the missing cell phone and says there are some other avenues she may want to pursue, but it’s time to take a breath.
“I felt today like those guys threw a saddle on my back 11 years ago and have been riding me ever since, and today I just bucked them off. I feel free.”