British Columbia

Raymond Lee Caissie, 43, charged with murder of Serena Vermeersch

Raymond Lee Caissie​, a high-risk sex offender who was released from prison last year after serving 22 years for a violent sexual assault, has been charged with the murder of Surrey, B.C., teen Serena Vermeersch.

Sex offender was the subject of a public warning after release from 22-year prison sentence

Raymond Lee Caissie​, a high-risk sex offender, was arrested in Vancouver and remains in custody 3:21

Raymond Lee Caissie​, a high-risk sex offender who was released from prison last year after serving 22 years for a violent sexual assault, has been charged with the murder of Surrey, B.C., teen Serena Vermeersch.

Caissie, 43, made a brief court appearance Monday on a charge of second-degree murder.

Police say Serena Vermeersch's slaying appears to be a 'random crime of opportunity.' (Facebook)

Metro Vancouver's Integrated Homicide Team announced the charge at a news conference Monday, but then refused to release the suspect's name because of a publication ban.

However, CBC News has determined the ban under Section 517 of the Criminal Code, which relates to publication of evidence in a bail hearing, does not preclude the release of his name.

Police said Caissie was arrested Saturday in Vancouver.

High-risk sex offender

Caissie was released from prison in June 2013 after serving more than 20 years for the violent sexual assault and unlawful confinement of a 21-year-old Abbotsford museum worker in 1991.

At the time of his release in 2013, Surrey RCMP issued a statement warning the public of a “high-risk sexual offender” loose in the community.

Raymond Lee Caissie, 43, has been charged with 2nd-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Serena Vermeersch. (RCMP)

"Caissie has maintained a varied pattern of offending, having offended both violently and sexually, in both an opportunistic and impulsive manner," the RCMP said in the 2013 news release. “He is to be supervised by the Surrey Probation Office and is being monitored by the Surrey RCMP."

At Monday’s news conference, police reiterated that the teen's death appeared to be a "random crime of opportunity." They also said evidence collected at the scene supported the theory that she was murdered.

Vermeersch, 17, was reported missing by her mother on Tuesday morning when she didn't come home after going out the previous night.

Her body was found Tuesday night in the 14600 block of 66 Avenue near a set of railroad tracks in Surrey's East Newton neighbourhood.

Police released this photo of Raymond Lee Caissie after he was charged in 1991 with a sex attack on a museum employee. (Matsqui Police Department)

Police have not released the cause of death.

Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy said nothing angers him more than this type of loss.

"Serena should be at Sullivan Heights [her school] having a laugh with classmates and thinking about graduation. Sadly that is not the case," he said. "These types of crimes galvanize our community and touch them in an incredible way."

Staff Sgt. Jennifer Pound said investigators would still like to talk to the driver of a grey or silver Dodge three-quarter-ton pickup with a full canopy seen leaving the area about an hour before Vermeersch's body was found.

She said the driver is not a suspect, but a person of interest, who, investigators feel, might be able to provide valuable information to the investigation.

Reporter blog of RCMP news conference

On mobile? Click here for a blog of the RCMP news conference

On mobile? See a map of the 14600 block of 66 Avenue here