With the accused in last week’s barbaric assault of a senior in South Surrey still at large, forensic experts are expediting analysis of evidence seized from the scene in the hopes of identifying and locating the man responsible.
“I understand the lab has given priority to this investigation, because it’s a stranger sex assault,” Surrey RCMP Cpl. Scotty Schumann told Peace Arch News Wednesday.
“So they’re analyzing the evidence quicker than what would normally be the turnaround time (on such tests).”
The evidence was seized Aug. 12, after a 70-year-old woman was attacked in her 28 Avenue home in Grandview.
A man who entered the home with a weapon around noon restrained the woman, then assaulted her when she couldn’t comply with demands for cash and other items.
After he left, the victim was able to free herself and fled to a neighbour’s for help, calling police just before 2 p.m.
Police flooded the area in an effort to locate the intruder, to no avail. A safety warning was issued hours later – after details of what was initially reported as an “interrupted break-and-enter” came to light – followed by the release of photos of the suspect obtained from an ATM near 200 Street and 40 Avenue.
Schumann said none of the public’s tips received so far have led to the suspect’s identity.
Earlier this week, the victim and her husband expressed appreciation of the emergency crews’ response, and the support they have received in the days following. The victim told PAN she feels stronger every day, and together, the couple is determined not to let the crime change their lives.
Police have also reached out to neighbouring residents, through a meeting held last Friday at an area school. (Media were not invited.)
Hosted by police and crime-prevention officials, it was attended by more than 65 people, including several of the victim’s immediate neighbours, Schumann said. It was intended to provide emotional support, as well as an opportunity to field questions and provide tips on personal and home security.
A similar meeting following last month’s murder of Cloverdale real estate agent Colin Hill was “very successful,” Schumann said.
“People really appreciated the fact that police were there after the fact answering their questions and just reassuring them.”
He said such a meeting is particularly important “when a suspect is still at loose.”
“People are very concerned about their safety, about how this can happen in our neighbourhood, what are the police doing.”
Schumann noted that despite a perception that police could be doing more, a tremendous amount of work can’t be disclosed to protect the integrity of the investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Surrey detachment at 604-599-0502.