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23rd of October 2018

Canada



Man accused of killing Burnaby teen Marissa Shen lived in her neighbourhood

The apartment where murder suspect Ibrahim Ali lived is less than a 10-minute walk to Central Park, where Marissa Shen’s body was found in July 2017.

The three-storey Burnaby walk-up apartment where Ibrahim Ali lived when he was arrested for the killing of Marissa Shen was shuttered and silent on Thursday.

On Wednesday, at the building where the Ali family rents two apartments, a man answered the door, confirmed he was a relative of Ibrahim Ali, the Syrian refugee accused of the 13-year-old’s murder, but declined to comment further.

On Thursday there was no response to knocking. The windows at the back of the apartment were hung with sheets and blinds. There appeared to be no activity in the apartment on the ground floor.

A tenant who lives in the apartment who did not want a name used, and who had been shocked about the murder in nearby Central Park, said the Alis were friendly and appeared to be a tight-knit family group. “They would say hi when you saw them in the hallway,” said the tenant.

The tenant said it was disconcerting to find out that someone charged with murder lived in the building.

The tenant recognized Ibrahim Ali from a photo.

Nearby shopkeepers did not recognize Ali, although they were happy that someone has been arrested and charged.

The nondescript stucco apartment where Ali lived is similar to dozens of others that dot the Metrotown area, offering relatively low rents, but many of which are being pulled down to make way for expensive, modern condo-towers. Because of that, it is an area in transition with higher-income residents pushing out lower-income residents.

Memorial for Marrisa Shen at her murder scene in Central Park. Nick Procaylo / PNG

The apartment where Ali had lived with his family is less than a 10-minute walk to Central Park, where Shen’s body was found in July 2017. The Ali apartment is just 600 metres from where Shen lived with her family near the park.

RCMP, in announcing charges on Monday, said that Ali did not appear to know Shen and Shen did not know Ali. Police believed from the start the homicide had been random.

Shen was reported missing after she failed to return home on July 18, 2017. Police launched a search, using GPS to track her phone. The 13-year-old girl’s body was found in a wooded area in Burnaby’s Central Park the next morning.

Ibrahim Ali came to Canada in March of 2017 through a joint-sponsorship between a group of Bowen Island families and the St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, just four months before Shen’s murder.

ghoekstra@postmedia.com

twitter.com/gordon_hoekstra

Related

Police walk through Central Park in Burnaby, BC Friday, July 21, 2017 near the spot where Marrisa Shen was found dead. Jason Payne / PNG

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