Family mourns slain teen as cops seek suspect
Published Saturday, October 8, 2011 6:45PM EDT
As mourners packed into a Vancouver-area funeral home Saturday to remember an aspiring model and actress murdered 10 days ago, police continue to search for a suspect in the case.
Homicide investigators haven't made any arrests in the slaying of 19-year-old Maple Batalia, but they have released surveillance footage of a car fleeing the scene of the crime.
The footage shows a white Dodge Charger leaving the parking garage near Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus on Sept. 28, the night Batalia was shot to death.
Though officers have described the slaying as a targeted attack, RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Pound said investigators are trying to keep an open mind about the case.
"At this point, we're not making any assumptions," she told reporters. "It could be one person, it could be many people and we want to put the plea out to whoever was involved."
Meanwhile, a former teacher of Batalia's remembered a kind girl who was a pleasure to have in class as an elementary student.
Suzanna Yee, who was among the mourners who came to the funeral home in Delta, said Batalia was a good pupil who helped her stay calm in the classroom.
"I had lots of naughty kids that year, and she was one of the really good kids," said Yee. "She kept me sane."
A day earlier, Batalia's family spoke out about how they believed jealousy may have played a part in her murder.
Friends of the aspiring actress said she had recently broken up with a boyfriend.
On Friday, Batalia's father Harry made an emotional plea to the person or people behind his daughter's death.
"I humbly say to the people who harmed my daughter now to turn yourself to the law. There's no way you're going to hide for long," he said.
Batalia's ex-boyfriend Gary Gurjinder Dhaliwal was recently charged for allegedly assaulting a man and a woman at a Tim Horton's coffee shop four days before she was murdered.
The SFU nursing student worked as a model and actress. Her most recent role was in "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules," a film based on a best-selling series of children's books.
With a report from CTV British Columbia and The Canadian Press