Vancouver double homicide may have been a random attack, police say
'There is nothing so far to suggest this was anything but a random crime': VPD asks public to be vigilant
Police have identified the victims of a double homicide in the Vancouver neighbourhood of Marpole and say there is nothing so far to indicate it was anything more than a random attack.
"That's why we are asking the public to look out for one another, and report anything suspicious to 911," said VPD spokesperson Const. Jason Doucette in a news release.
Police have identified the victims as Dianna Mah-Jones, 65, and Richard Jones, 68 and say they were married.
"This investigation is a top priority for the VPD," said Doucette.
The VPD says its homicide unit is working "around the clock" to solve the crime.
Police discovered the couple's bodies after they were called to the small blue house at West 64th Avenue and Hudson Street Wednesday afternoon to check on the well-being of the residents.
They are Vancouver's 14th and 15th homicide of 2017.
Mah-Jones an award-winning occupational therapist
A spokesperson for Vancouver Coastal Health confirmed that Mah-Jones was an occupational therapist at the G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre.
She worked for the health authority for 35 years and was described as a "much-loved" colleague.
"Dianna will be remembered as someone who went above and beyond to make a difference for her patients and missed by all who knew her," VCH said in a news release.
According to a VCH blog post, Mah-Jones spent time as director of occupational therapy for the rehabilitation centre and was named B.C.'s Health Care Hero in June.
"A hero is someone who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities," the blog post read. "Dianna Mah-Jones has all of those characteristics and then some."
She was lauded for her ingenuity and was even credited with helping invent unique rehab tools.
She designed a latex collar for a woman with muscular dystrophy and a wooden pulley-operated feeding tower for a man who needed to eat while standing.
Police searching where car found
On Friday, Vancouver Police conducted a grid search in the blocks surrounding West 62nd Avenue and Cartier Street, where the couple's 2014 white Kia was found the night before, about six blocks from the crime scene.
The couple's next-door neighbour, Richard Guenther, 51, says his car — parked in front of his house — was broken into the night the homicides are thought to have occurred.
He says his wife saw Mah-Jones' vehicle drive off at 10:30 p.m. PT, which they both thought was odd because Mah-Jones and her husband don't go out at night.
They heard no commotion next door.
The next morning, Guenther noticed his neighbour's back door was wide open. He thought that was concerning.
It remained open for a couple of hours, then appeared to have been closed.
He says he left home for a few hours, and when he came back, police had the house taped off.
No Airbnb booking at time of homicide
Mah-Jones and her husband had an AirBnB in the basement of their house with a keybox but Guenther says he and his wife last saw visitors a week and a half ago.
Airbnb Canada's press secretary, Lindsey Scully, confirmed that there was no reservation for the listing at the time of the double murder.
"We've been working with the Vancouver Police Department," Scully said.
"Obviously, we are very upset to hear this. It's an awful incident and tragic for the community, and we are thinking of them and their family, of their friends and family at this time."
Location of couple's missing vehicle
With files from Eric Rankin