On Dec. 1, at a vacant lot in Whalley, he cleared the space of garbage, needles and condoms, and then hung a wreath on the tree where 45-year-old Janice Shore was savagely beaten last year.
The following day, he returned to put a circle of candles at the makeshift memorial – but the wreath, along with Shore’s picture, had been torn down and taken away.
The man, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he was both saddened and surprised at the lengths someone took to remove the wreath. It had been fastened firmly to the tree.
“Someone went to a lot of effort to rip that thing out of there,” he told The Leader.
He said he’ll be back daily to make sure some reminder of Shore remains.
On Dec. 2, 2012, Shore was found barely conscious, partially clothed and severely beaten in the empty lot near the edge of Whalley’s notorious “strip” on 135A Street and 106 Avenue.
She died in hospital after spending two months in a coma.
The man who hung the wreath – who brought Shore flowers and chocolate while she was in hospital – said when she died, he considered her to be an example of everything that is wrong with the world.
He didn’t know Shore, but he said the police’s reaction after the beating was particularly upsetting.
RCMP waited more than a week to issue a public plea for witnesses, saying there wasn’t a threat to the public and they were already working on promising leads.
They didn’t say much early in the investigation, only that Shore had been the victim of a serious assault and suffered life-threatening injuries, including broken bones.
“I was blown away, because if she was rich, she would have been big media,” the man said. “And the brutal nature of it really upset me.”
He’s not alone.
The attack on Shore rattled the city, in part because of her troubled past.
Shore lost her father when she was eight, and her brother when she was 17.
That same year, she was institutionalized – diagnosed with manic depression, medicated and treated surgically.
Medication helped quell the psychosis, which came in episodes during which she would cry about a lifetime of pain and loss.
Hungering for some level of normalcy, Shore married when she was 18, and had three children.
Because of her mental condition, the government seized her kids when they were young.
Soon, her marriage collapsed.
Not long after that, she was living with her other brother Ed in Whalley.
She developed a dependency on street drugs and collected bottles and panhandled along King George Boulevard between 100 and 108 Avenues to make ends meet.
Social service providers remember her as a kind woman with an easy smile.
However, someone on the mean streets of Whalley didn’t agree.
At 11 p.m. on Dec. 1 last year, Shore went out to the Flamingo Hotel parking lot to collect cigarette butts that could be emptied and re-rolled.
She didn’t come home.
The following afternoon, Shore was found clinging to life in the empty lot. She succumbed to her injuries on Feb. 18, 2013.
Her death prompted a Surrey councillor to call for a review of city services that may have failed Shore prior to her death.
“It is important to make sure that there are some measurable outcomes on the type of services that are made available by taxpayers’ dollars,” Coun. Barinder Rasode said.
A year later, the review has resulted in some recommendations (see sidebar).
As to the removal of Shore’s memorial wreath this week, service providers are not surprised, but feel it reveals an ugly side of humanity.
“I think that’s just a very sad statement,” said Jonquil Hallgate, executive director of the Surrey Urban Mission Society.
The man who is put up the wreath said its disappearance mirrors how Shore was treated.
“Killing her is bad enough, but they want to destroy her memory,” he said, adding he will continue replacing her picture until people tire of taking it down.
No one has been arrested for Shore’s murder.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) says it still takes this case very seriously.
“The anniversary of any homicide is particularly hard on family and friends,” said IHIT spokesperson Dominic Duchensneau. “While we cannot divulge the details of where we are with evidence in relation to this investigation, I can tell you we continue to move forward.”
IHIT is asking anyone who has any information regarding Shore’s murder to contact the IHIT tip line at 1-877-551-4448 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.