SURREY â€” Despite several high profile and disturbing deaths in Surrey this year there were fewer homicides than last year’s record-breaking tally.
There were 17 homicides over the course of the year which mixed months of relative peace that were interrupted by a disturbing series of murders. This was particularly true this December, with three young people under the age of 18 all killed in a span of just eight days.
Perhaps the most shocking of all homicides this year was the death of 17-year-old Serena Vermeersch, who disappeared one September evening while going home on public transit. Her body was found next to some railway tracks in Newton the next day.
When police announced they had found her alleged killer the next week, more shocking news: the suspect had already served 22 years in prison for a violent sexual assault in which the victim was left for dead.
Surrey set a new record in 2013 with 25 homicides, breaking the previous record of 21 in 2005.
Comparatively, Surrey recorded 10 homicides in 2012, 15 in 2011, 13 in 2010, 20 in 2009, 16 in 2008, 14 in 2007, 11 in 2006, 10 in 2004 and five in 2003.
After last year’s 22nd homicide in November, Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts created a task force to "drill down" on what’s caused this spike in numbers. That particular homicide tied Surrey, with a population of 502,010, with Edmonton, population 812,000.
Only a month later as the city should have been basking in the peaceful afterglow of Christmas, "hockey mom" Julie Paskall was brutally murdered in a random attack outside of a Newton hockey arena. The anniversary of her death was remembered sombrely this week. Yosef Jomo Gopaul, 27, was charged with the second-degree murder in May.
[Note â€” map shows where bodies were reported found by police agencies and not necessarily where the murders may have taken place]
Homicides in Surrey in 2014
Jan. 21. The body of Tarsem Singh Dhaliwal is found inside a vehicle parked in the 18900 block of 92nd Avenue in Port Kells after he was reported missing two days earlier. Eleven months later police charge Randeep Singh Match with his second-degree murder.
May 1. Police find the bodies of Kathleen Maximuik, 61, and her 83-year-old mother Anne Shouchuk in their house at 13665 111A Ave. After an investigation it’s determined the daughter likely murdered her mother before taking her own life.
May 13. Gregory Quesnelle, 32, is shot dead in his Surrey apartment. After months of evading police, Barry McQuarrie, 33, is arrested in a Langley garage and charged with first-degree murder.
May 14. Milton Reyes-Moraga, 39, is stabbed in a home in central Surrey and dies en route to hospital.
June 16. The body of Shaunce Poirier, 33, is found in his apartment in the 13200-block of 108th Avenue in North Surrey. A week later Dustin Barry Anderson, 42, of Nanaimo is charged with second-degree murder in his slaying.
June 19. Mandeepak Chahal, 22, is killed in an apparent fight between two groups of men in the 13100-block of 65B Avenue in Newton. Sukhpreet "Jesse" Shergill, 20, is charged with one count of manslaughter in his death.
June 20. Conman Timothy Szabolcsi, 52, originally from Manitoba, is found shot dead in what appears to be a targeted attack. Szabolcsi had been sentenced to five years in prison for felony theft in Texas in October 2009, but he was paroled and deported back to Canada in 2010.
July 20. Narinder Kaur Kalsi is taken off life support from injuries sustained during a domestic dispute with her husband the week before. Baldev Singh Kalsi, 66, is charged with second-degree murder.
July 25. Donald William Deweyn, 63, is stabbed to death near 106 and 135A Avenues at around 5 a.m. Police say the man, of no fixed address, was probably involved in a disagreement with another person, but had no criminal record. Dylan Robert Dempsey, 22, is charged with manslaughter a month later.
Aug. 12. Edward Allen Bezell, 55, is killed at his Newton home in the 14000-block of 60th Avenue just after 1 p.m. His son, Ryan William Beauchamp, who also lived at the residence, is taken into police custody and charged with second-degree murder.
Sept. 16. The body of Serena Vermeersch, 17, is found in the 14600 block of 66th Avenue near the railroad tracks in East Newton. A week later a high-risk sexual offender recently released from a 22 year prison sentence is charged with her murder.
Sept. 20. Barinder Khangura, 29, is found in his truck shortly after midnight in the 14500-block of 83A Ave. He had no criminal record but police say the shooting was likely targeted. No arrests are made.
Oct. 19. Notorious Surrey enforcer Larry Robert Mizen, 54, is found dead in the Whalley neighbourhood he terrorized for years. No arrests have since been made in the case.
Nov. 23. Jaswant Pandher, 64, is murdered in the 6900-block of 152nd Street in Newton following what appears to be a domestic-related incident. Taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder is her husband Harbans Pandher.
Dec. 10. Teagan Batstone, 8, is found in the trunk of a car in South Surrey. Her mother, Lisa Batstone, is taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder. After a brief appearance in court she is ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment to find whether she’s fit to stand trial.
Dec. 13. Earl Marriott Secondary student Dario Bartoli, 15, is attacked by a group of people in South
Surrey at around 2:30 a.m. He is taken to hospital but later succumbs to his injuries. No arrests have yet been made in the case.
Dec. 18. Homicide investigators confirm 17-year-old Jaylen Sandhu has died of injuries sustained during an assault in the 16300 block of 88th Avenue. Police say they believe the victim knew his attacker but have not made any arrests.
(Undetermined â€“ Jan. 6. A 41-year-old woman found in a vehicle in a rural area of North Surrey. Although the death is considered "suspicious" it is never officially ruled a homicide and the woman was never publicly identified.)
â€”with file from Tom Zytaruk/The Now