Toronto police investigating the seemingly random slaying of a woman in Cabbagetown released new video footage on Monday showing the victim and a man suspected of stabbing her to death.
Nighisti Semret, a 55-year-old cleaner, was walking back home from an overnight shift at the Delta Chelsea Hotel when she was stabbed multiple times in a laneway connecting Bleecker Street to Ontario Street around 6:30 a.m. last week.
Detectives said they hope the latest images will help jog the memories of any potential witnesses.
Police said Semret took a different route home the morning she was killed on Oct. 23, probably a short cut to avoid the rain. Her suspected killer had followed her for at least 100 metres, according to surveillance footage pieced together by investigators.
Semret can be seen holding her umbrella and walking hurriedly in the clips, with a man in a long dark jacket, hat and scarf only a few paces behind her.
Solitary life in Cabbagetown
Det-Sgt. Gary Giroux told reporters on Monday that Semret, an Eritrean refugee who apparently lived a quiet and solitary life, likely had no idea she was being followed.
"The motive and the rationale behind [the slaying] is unclear," Giroux said at a press conference.
Minutes after police believe Semret was attacked, her alleged killer appears on camera running in the opposite direction. It's believed he may have crossed in front of a driver's headlights on Bleecker Street, which is why investigators wish to speak with the driver.
"The homicide squad is asking that particular individual if he is aware that he was on Bleecker street shortly before 7 o'clock in the morning on the 23rd, to contact us directly with regards to seeing an individual who may have crossed right in front of his headlights, or just on to the sidewalk."
Police hope the release of the new footage will help provide more tips in this case, as police have not been able to establish a motive. Semret was not known to have any enemies, she had no criminal record, and her purse was not stolen in the incident.
"A victim's lifestyle and their habits are very important in driving an investigation, and as a result of a very private and modest lifestlye, it makes things even more difficult," Giroux said.
Victims Services is working with Semret's family, four children and husband to help bring them over from Uganda to see her.