Suspicious death of 13-year-old Marrisa Shen under investigation in Burnaby

Police in Burnaby, B.C., are warning parents and asking the public to be vigilant after the body of 13-year-old Marrisa Shen was found early Wednesday in a popular park.

Police doing extra patrols in the popular Burnaby park

Police tape still surround much of Central Park in Burnaby where Marrisa Shen's body was found. (GP Mendoza/CBC)

Police in Burnaby, B.C., are warning parents and asking the public to be vigilant after the body of 13-year-old Marrisa Shen was found early Wednesday in the brush of a popular park.

Shen, who would have started high school in the fall, was last seen at her home near the park at 1 p.m. PT Tuesday and last heard from over the phone at 5 p.m., but investigators don't know where she was at that time.

Her family reported her missing after 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night, and Shen's body was found in the southeast corner of Burnaby's Central Park about 1:10 a.m. Wednesday, investigators said.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is describing the teenager's death as suspicious. An autopsy will be conducted to determine cause of death.

"Until we confirm more facts in this case, the risk to the public, if any, is unknown," said Cpl. Meghan Foster of IHIT at a news conference.

There is currently no suspect.

Police patrolling urban park

Uniformed and plainclothes police are conducting extra patrols in the 90-hectare park, parts of which were behind police tape Wednesday as investigators worked at the crime scene.

"I know many of you may be wondering if your children are safe," said Insp. Sanjaya Wijayakoon, the acting officer in charge of the Burnaby RCMP.

Wijayakoon said there aren't many answers yet about the girl's death, but police would be working around the clock to investigate and protect public safety.

He added that bike patrols would be active in Central Park, including in remote terrain.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is investigating the death of Marrisa Shen, 13, whose body was found early Wednesday in Burnaby's Central Park. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

"We ask that families have a conversation with your kids about safety," said Wijayakoon. "We ask that you be vigilant and be aware of your surroundings."

Appeal for witnesses

Investigators are asking for help from the public, and for anyone who saw Shen between 1 p.m. yesterday and 1 a.m. today to contact police.

Police are also looking for witnesses who may have seen something suspicious in Central Park in the day or night yesterday.

"We understand there will be many questions," said Foster. "Until we know more and can provide further updates, we ask that the public remain vigilant."

Anyone with information is asked to contact IHIT at 1-877-551-4448 (IHIT) or by email, or to remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-8447 (TIPS)
Shen's body was found in the southeast corner of Burnaby's Central Park early Wednesday, investigators said. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)