British Columbia

IHIT releases criminal profile of B.C. teen's suspected killer

The body of Marrisa Shen, 13, was found in Burnaby's Central Park in July 2017.

The body of Marrisa Shen, 13, was found in Burnaby's Central Park in July 2017

A photo of Marrisa Shen displayed at her funeral service in Vancouver. (Supplied by family)

Investigators have released a criminal profile of the person they believe may have randomly killed a Burnaby, B.C., teenager last summer.

Marrisa Shen, 13, was found dead in the city's Central Park in the early hours of July 19. She'd been reported missing the night before. 

RCMP and the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said Shen's death was a random attack, but a suspect has never been identified.

On Tuesday, IHIT said criminal profilers believe the attacker may have lived in the area around Central Park at the time.

A statement said he or she may have behaved in the following ways after the teen's death:

  • Moved unexpectedly, permanently or temporarily
  • Uncharacteristically avoided the Central Park area
  • Withdrew from family or social activities
  • Missed work or scheduled appointments
  • Showed suicidal gestures or made attempts
  • Seemed particularly interested in media coverage releated to Shen's death
  • Increased or decreased their use of drugs and/or alcohol

IHIT Cpl. Frank Jang said there is still strong public interest in the case and anyone who recognizes the characteristics or behaviours in someone they know or knew should contact police.

"This was a random attack. I know that's unsettling to all of us,'' he told reporters on Tuesday.

Jang said investigators have kept a close relationship with Marrisa's family and would have liked to have had answers for them nine months ago.

"But in homicide investigations, the way that IHIT operates, we follow the evidence. We don't make speculations or assumptions," he said.

Jang said investigators have a list of persons of interest who they think have information about Marrisa, but more names are added to the list as old ones are ruled out.

"It's always fluid," he said.

RCMP released a short video of Marrisa Shen taken on July 18, 2017, close to where her body was found in Burnaby's Central Park. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Few details released

Since Marrisa's body was found, few details have been released about the homicide investigation — including whether or not she was killed in the park. A cause of death hasn't been released.

Police said they've conducted hundreds of interviews, canvassed the area around the crime scene and combed through surveillance video as part of the ongoing investigation.

In January, investigators released new surveillance tape taken hours before the teen died in hopes of generating new leads. They also launched a website for tips and information. 

The 13-year-old's body was found in a Burnaby, B.C. park six months ago. 0:40

The footage shows Shen walking into the Tim Hortons at 6200 McKay Ave. in Burnaby at 6:09 p.m. PT on July 18. She's wearing black sneakers, denim shorts and a black T-shirt with rainbow stripes down the front.

She leaves an hour-and-a-half later.

Shen's brother, speaking to CBC later in July, said it wasn't unusual for his sister to go for walks in Central Park and listen to her music.

Shen's family reported her missing when she didn't come home.