Ex-boyfriend facing first-degree murder charge in B.C. teen's death
Published Saturday, December 1, 2012 4:27PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, December 1, 2012 10:53PM EST
The ex-boyfriend of a Simon Fraser university student who was found shot in the parking lot of the university’s campus has been charged with first-degree murder in the young woman’s death.
B.C. RCMP said 20-year-old Gurjinder “Gary” Dhaliwal and 22-year-old Gursimar Singh Bedi were arrested Friday in connection with the 2011 murder of student Maple Batalia. Dhaliwal is charged with first-degree murder, while Bedi is charged with manslaughter and accessory after the fact.
Supt. Kevin Hackett, who was the lead officer in charge of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, announced the arrests during a press conference Saturday evening.
Police said the two suspects were arrested Friday around 6 p.m. local time. Dhaliwal was arrested in Burnaby and Bedi was arrested in Surrey, said Hackett. He said the two suspects were “associates” and identified by officers early in the investigation.
“We definitely, from the onset of this investigation, knew who these individuals were,” he said. He added that there was no indication that the murder was related to gang activity.
Hackett told reporters that the two suspects are set to appear in provincial court on Monday.
Chief Supt. Bill Fordy of the Surrey RCMP said he hoped the arrests would bring some sense of peace to Batalia’s grieving family.
“I knew this day would come,” he said.
Members of Batalia’s family attended the press conference. After thanking the RCMP and the community for their support, Maple’s sister told reporters the family felt relieved that arrests had been made.
“It was definitely a long wait, but it was worth the wait,” said Roseleen Batalia, on the verge of tears.“We won’t get her back, but definitely it will help in the healing process. We can finally start to grieve.
“We’re just hoping that Maple will finally be at peace.”
The arrests come more than a year after Batalia was shot to death in a parking garage at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus. She had been studying at the campus library.
The student was found wounded on Sept. 28, 2011. She was taken to hospital, but later died.
At one point, as many as 50 investigators were assigned to Batalia’s case. During the investigation, police said they had no evidence linking the murder to drugs or organized crime. They said Batalia died in a targeted attack.
Batalia was an aspiring doctor, who also had experience acting and modelling. She had a small role in the 2010 movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”
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