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More than two months after she was savagely beaten and left for dead at the end of Whalley’s notorious strip on 135A Street, Janice Shore has died.
The 34-year-old diminutive woman had been homeless, but fought hard to get by. She panhandled near the Whalley Safeway, and managed to scrape together enough money to help her brother, who was also homeless.
“She struggled in poverty,” said Jonquil Hallgate, executive director of Surrey Urban Mission Society (SUMS).
“(She) didn’t have a lot of personal resources or connections to people in the community. She spent a lot of time on the street looking for bottles, looking for money to buy a few things she needed or wanted.”
On Sunday, Dec. 2, Ken Smith, a man who accesses services in the area, discovered Shore in an empty lot in Whalley – barely conscious, partially clothed, and weakly calling for help.
While he knew Shore, Smith could barely recognize her due to the vicious beating she had suffered.
Police didn’t say much early in the investigation, but did say the woman, who was not named until this week, was a victim of a serious assault and suffered life-threatening injuries, including broken bones.
She was taken to Royal Columbian Hospital, where she spent most of the past two months in a coma.
Shore succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) has taken control of the investigation.
“We are in the early stages of taking conduct of this case from the Surrey RCMP,” said IHIT Cpl. Bari Emam, promising more details Wednesday afternooon, after The Leader’s print deadline.
Smith told The Leader in December he found Shore near a tree behind a tire shop at 106 Avenue and 135A Street. The area around the tree showed it is frequented by many along the strip, with syringes, cast-off clothes, plastic bags and other debris – including a plastic doll with its leg and head torn off – littered across the small patch of green space.
A white cinderblock wall was covered in graffiti, with one missive stating: “No retreat, No surrender, Mad respect.”
Several people in Whalley were angered that police didn’t release a warning to the public immediately following the discovery of Shore.
It was only after calls from The Leader days later that police released a few details publicly.
Smith wasn’t surprised.
“This is the dead zone,” he said as he walked north of 104 toward 108 Avenue. “They don’t tell you when bad stuff goes on up here.”
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Bert Paquet told The Leader at the time that “at the early stages of this investigation, there were a lot of questions that remained unanswered… we believed that releasing details of the investigation might jeopardize its success.”
Not everyone in the community accepts that explanation.
Hallgate said if it was a “middle-class woman walking down the street, there would be a hue and cry.”
Contacted after Shore died, Hallgate was devastated.
“Now that it’s murder, do you think anyone will care?” she asked.
Coun. Barinder Rasode said Wednesday she was “deeply saddened” to hear about Shore’s death.
Rasode, also the chair of Surrey’s Police Committee, will be asking for a review of the systems that should have been in place to protect Shore from the attack.