An emotional tribute was held for a murdered British Columbia university student at the modeling competition she had planned to compete in last year before the aspiring actress was gunned down.

Maple Batalia was 19 when she was shot by an unknown assailant in a parking lot near Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus last September.

On Saturday, the first 20 minutes of the Central City Model Search competition in Surrey was a tribute to Batalia that included a surprise $2,000 cheque from event organizers to launch a bursary in her name.

"It's just letting people know she has a voice beyond the grave, beyond the horrible atrocity that occurred, she is still among us," her sister Roseleen Batalia told CTV BC Saturday.

"There's so many things we can do, but it won't really bring Maple back, but having the positivity and the support means a lot," she said.

Maple Batalia had encouraged her friend Michelle Cyr, 21, to get into modeling. They had signed up for the contest together.

"What's hard now is I'm going to be alone. I will always remember and I will always keep her with me . . . it's definitely hard," she said through tears.

Between 40 and 50 police officers are working on the case.

Police have seized a white 2011 Dodge Charger they believe may have been used in the murder, and made another appeal for witnesses earlier this month.

Several witnesses seen on a surveillance video at the crime scene have been interviewed, but there have been no arrests.

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