Belgian hitchhiker met her accused murderer the day she died, police say

A Belgian tourist who was found dead in southern B.C. last month met the man charged with her slaying the day she died, according to homicide investigators.

Sean Ryan William McKenzie charged with 1st-degree murder of Amelie Sakkalis

The body of Amelie Sakkalis, 28, was found near Boston Bar on Aug. 22. (@HomicideTeam/Twitter)

A Belgian tourist who was found dead in B.C. last month met the man charged with her slaying the day she died, according to homicide investigators.

The body of Amelie Sakkalis, 28, was found near Boston Bar around 7:45 p.m. PT on Aug. 22.

Sean Ryan William McKenzie, 27, of Oliver, B.C., was charged Saturday with first-degree murder in the woman's death. 

Cpl. Frank Jang, who is with the Lower Mainland's Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, said Sakkalis and McKenzie met the day her body was discovered.

Sean McKenzie, 27, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Amelie Sakkalis, a Belgian tourist killed while hitchhiking in southern B.C. on Aug. 22. (IHIT)

Police have said Sakkalis was hitchhiking from Penticton, B.C., to Vancouver.

Jang said investigators are hoping to speak with anyone who saw Sakkalis and McKenzie together on Aug. 22.

Sakkalis's body was discovered after police were called to a "suspicious occurrence" near where Highway 1 meets Kahmoose Road.

McKenzie was arrested at the scene and police seized a white 1994 Chevy Astro van they believe was associated with the homicide.

After being interviewed by police, McKenzie was released.

Jang said he "couldn't get into details" as to why McKenzie was released and arrested again, but said investigators gathered "significant" evidence in the weeks between arrests.

"It will all play out in court," the officer said.

The day before her body was found, Sakkalis posted a message on Facebook in French, looking for a ride. 

On the day of her death, she posted on a Facebook group called Guide du Croutard, for French speakers in Vancouver, asking if anyone had a place to stay because the hostels in Vancouver were full.

Jang said earlier that Sakkalis was not known to police in B.C. and had "little history" in Canada. Her primary language was French.

The officer said McKenzie was not known to police and did not have a criminal record. He made his first appearance in court Saturday and was remanded until his next appearance on Wednesday.

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Corrections

  • A previous version of this story contained an incorrect location in reference to Boston Bar, B.C.
    Sep 17, 2018 11:24 AM PT