IHIT ramps up hunt for killer of Surrey hockey mom
Police are once again appealing for anyone who has information that could help them identify who killed a hockey mom at a busy Surrey recreation centre to come forward.
At 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, 53-year-old Julie Paskall was waiting to pick up her 14-year-old son who was volunteering as a referee at a tournament near the Newton Ice Rink at 7120 136B St.
The longtime time-keeper with Surrey Minor Hockey was waiting in the parking lot when someone clubbed her in the head and beat her with a blunt object.
She died on Tuesday morning (Dec. 31).
Police believe the killer, who is still at large, may be the same person who attacked a woman getting off a bus at the Newton bus exchange on Dec. 16. The Surrey RCMP did not send out a public release about that attack because they didn't believe it was severe enough or represented a trend.
Members of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) are now sending out a new appeal for witnesses.
"We have received a substantial amount of tips – over 30 – which we are ver grateful for," said IHIT Sgt. Adam MacIntosh. "Some of those tips are going to lead to advance the investigation and some are not, it's the simple nature of the beast."
A command post was set up at the Newton Arena on Thursday, and on Saturday, Surrey RCMP are expected to be putting up posters in the area asking for public assistance.
In the meantime, Mounties are warning to the public to be careful.
"Due to the circumstances of this tragic incident, we are asking the public to be extra vigilant," Surrey RCMP Cpl. Bert Paquet said. "It is important that people are aware of their surroundings when they are out and that they keep their valuables concealed. Walk with a friend whenever possible, particularly after dark."
The warning is doing little to calm the nerves of Newton residents.
Some say there needs to be done from a policing perspective, particularly by way of bike and foot patrols near the Newton bus exchange near 72 Avenue and King George Boulevard.
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts agrees the Newton exchange has been a "problematic area for quite some time."
She said she has spoken at length with TransLink to ensure transit police are ready and aware of issues at the station. The city has also asked that the transit exchange be moved to the King George corridor, making it more visible to passing vehicles, and therefore safer.
Anyone with information or who was in the area of the Newton Arena, Newton bus loop and the Newton Wave Pool, between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Dec. 29 is asked to call the IHIT Tipline at 1-877-551-4448 by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to remain anonymous you can call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or leave a tip on their website at Solvecrime.ca.