Seven Easters ago, Devon Allaire-Bell was murdered on a Surrey school field and his family continues to yearn for a call from police telling them that a suspect has been arrested.
Allaire-Bell, 19, was playing soccer and drinking a couple beers with his best pal Jack Neilsen, 20, in a field behind Frank Hurt secondary school at 13940 77th Ave. in Newton, when a group of young Indo-Canadian men jumped them on the evening of April 24, 2011, an Easter Sunday.
Police said at the time that three Indo-Canadian men, believed to be about 20 years old, approached the pair and the five got into an argument.
Three more Indo-Canadian men joined in, a fight broke out and Allaire-Bell and Neilsen were both stabbed multiple times. Neilsen survived the attack and managed to stumble across the parking lot to call for help.
Shortly after the attack investigators released photos and video surveillance footage of five suspects. The images and footage show the suspects cutting through an Esso gas station on their way to the school, passing through a McDonalds restaurant on 72nd just west of King George Boulevard. Police noted at the time that one suspect had a unique marine-style haircut, with the sides and back shaved and a small amount of hair on top. Of course, that was seven years ago.
“As of April 24th it will have been seven years,” Allaire-Bell’s dad, Wayne Bell, told the Now-Leader. “As far as we know, no, nothing has moved forward. Every time the lead investigator changes they inform us. There has been a couple of people, that we know, that have been with the case from day one.”
That, he said, “is the positive side of it.” He said his family is frustrated. “Absolutely. I mean, it’s seven years and it’s so difficult to believe that video exists of them walking – obviously those videos that have been tied to the one at Frank Hurt, to me it seems painfully obvious that the dress, what they were dressed in, was the same as the guys in the Frank Hurt field.”
Bell said he spoke with a fellow who installs surveillance cameras. “He said McDonalds doesn’t cheap out on theirs and he said as soon as you walk in there, your face is on camera.
“As far we know IHIT is handling the case. They tell us that there is somebody consistently working on the case itself.”
It’s hard to be patient, Bell said. “At this stage it is. I wrestle with it every day. I’ve had parents of other young people that have passed and you know it’s so difficult to give advice because every situation is different but a loss is a loss, no matter how you put it. It never stops hurting.”
Corporal Frank Jang, of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, confirmed Tuesday there has been “no arrests yet.”
“We still have conduct of that file.”
Sara Bylo, Neilsen’s older sister, told the Now-Leader that although seven years have gone by, “it feels like yesterday. You know that someone knows – lots of people must know who these people are.”
She noted that Jack and Devon grew up together since they were seven and eight years old. “They were like brothers. They were with each other every weekend. It’s really hard for him.”
The police released the video footage in 2011 during a press conference attended by Bell and the victim’s mom, Cynthia Allaire-Bell, who sat beside a cedar urn containing his remains.
“The people who did this, you reduced this very caring, loving young man to ashes,” the grieving mom cried out at the time, pointing at the urn. “That’s him, in there. If you believe that you were a man when you did this, be a man and stand up and take responsibility for what you did, for only the slimy evil can do such a thing and feel no remorse.
“To the mothers of these so-called people,” she pleaded, “think hard and look hard because this might one day be your child, and not necessarily the child that did this but one of your other children. So please, we know that there are people out there that know who did this evil, cruel act. Mothers look into your hearts, and think of your own children, because you don’t want to go here.”