UPDATE: Man charged with murder in July 2017 death of 13-year-old B.C. girl

RCMP Cpl. Daniela Panesar places a photo of Marrisa Shen, 13, next to a map indicating where her body was found in Central Park, during a news conference in Burnaby, B.C., on July 19, 2017.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

SURREY, B.C. - A man has been charged with murder in the death of 13-year-old Marrisa Shen, whose body was found in a Metro Vancouver park in July 2017.

RCMP Supt. Donna Richardson, who is in charge of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, said 28-year-old Ibrahim Ali is accused of first-degree murder.

Richardson said the suspect is a Burnaby resident and wasn't known to police.

Shen's body was found in a wooded area of Central Park in Burnaby just hours after she had left home at 6 p.m. on July 18, 2017.

Richardson said Ali came to the attention of police two weeks ago, but she would not elaborate.

"We still believe this crime was a random act, meaning that Marrisa did not know the suspect and vice versa," Richardson said at a news conference on Monday.

She wouldn't say if police know of a motive.

The investigation into the girl's death was one of the homicide team's largest active investigations with over 2,300 investigative tasks completed, Richardson said.

"We methodically went through these individuals and either included or excluded them from persons of interest."

Burnaby RCMP Chief Supt. Deanne Burleigh relayed her condolences to Shen's family.

"While I understand there is some relief of the announcement of an arrest, I am mindful of the devastating loss that they have suffered. Since the day of Marrisa's murder the thoughts of everyone at the Burnaby detachment have been with her family."

Burleigh said police continue to conduct patrols on bike, foot and in vehicles as a result of Shen's death.

"Marrisa's murder shook our community and it questioned the safety in our parks," she said.

Cpl. Frank Jang read a statement from the family thanking the public, the media and the police.

"We hope that justice will now be served and that Marrisa can finally be at peace in heaven," the statement said.

Shen was seen on security video entering a Tim Hortons about 10 minutes after she left home and she was last seen around 7:30 p.m. that night walking near the coffee shop. Shen's mother reported her missing at 11:30 p.m. and the girl's body was found 90 minutes later, police have said.

On the anniversary of her death, police said a large number of officers were working on the case and they had followed up on more than 200 tips, watched 1,000 hours of video and interviewed 600 people.


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