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18-year-old charged in Laura Szendrei murder

An 18-year-old male has been charged with the first-degree murder of 15-year-old Laura Szendrei of North Delta.

Delta Police made the announcement Monday morning.

Because the man was 17 at the time of the 2010 incident, he cannot be named, said Delta Police Sgt. Sharlene Brooks.

Szendrei died after being attacked in George Mackie Park on Sept. 25 of last year.

The Burnsview Secondary student was attacked at 1:30 p.m. on a Saturday in the park, located in the 8200 block of 110 Street. She died later in hospital.

On Monday, Laura's mother Rachael Szendrei let out a cheer after hearing the news of the 18-year-old's arrest.

"Today we are here with mixed emotions," Rachael said at the announcement. "We feel the same depth of loss, grief and heartbreak, but today for the first time, we also have a sense of relief."

Laura's father Mike Szendrei thanked everyone involved in locating the suspect.

"At the beginning, I honestly didn't think the police could come through, but they have," he said.

Police said Monday they had several suspects they were monitoring and made an arrest in the early hours of Sunday, Feb. 20, in North Delta.

The man charged is described as a Caucasian North Delta resident and was not a student at the school Laura attended.

"It's very difficult to say whether it was random or targeted," said Brooks of the attack. "We believe an opportunity presented itself."

She would not discuss what, if any, specific weapons might have been used except to say Laura's injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma.

"I think I need to be clear that although we have made an arrest, and charges have been secured, our investigation is far from over," Brooks said. "I think today there is going to be a sense of relief in the community. There is also going to be some sense of distress knowing that this individual is from our community."

The accused was scheduled to appear in Surrey Provincial Court Monday to set a date for future trial.

kdiakiw@surreyleader.com

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