Parents of Mission murder victim want personal belongings returned

Parents of Mission murder victim want personal belongings returned

Lisa Dudley’s parents, Rosemarie and Mark Surakka, were at the Mission RCMP detachment Sunday

Rosemarie and Mark Surakka were at the Mission RCMP detachment Sunday morning, hoping to collect the personal belongings of their daughter, murder victim Lisa Dudley. However, the mother and stepfather of the victim left empty-handed.

The Surakkas were told in advance that the items were no longer at the Mission detachment, but had been moved on Friday to the RCMP office in Surrey. They were also told they could come to Surrey and collect the items.

But, for personal reasons and because of the principle of the matter, the Surakkas refused to go to Surrey and arrived in Mission instead.

“Why would they gather the belongings and ship them to Surrey when we’re here? Why didn’t we get a call saying, ‘OK, we’ll meet you there (Mission) on Sunday?’ ”asked Mark.

“We’re not going to Surrey. I have a daughter I have to look after. We’re not even supposed to be in the car for that amount of time with the health problems that we have,” Rosemarie said.

It was in September 2008 that Lisa Dudley and her partner Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home.

McKay died at the scene, but Dudley, who was 37 at the time, stayed alive for four days before finally being discovered by a neighbour. She was airlifted to hospital, but died later that day.

The Mission officer investigating a shots-fired call at the couple’s home left the scene after being there for approximately 10 minutes, without going inside, and did not follow up the next day.

Four years later, RCMP Cpl. Mike White was reprimanded and docked one day’s pay following a review by the adjudication board.

Four men were eventually convicted in the pair’s death: Jack Woodruff, Justin MacKinnon, Bruce Main and Thomas Holden.

After a long battle, a court order was issued last month to return to the Surakkas the personal objects of Dudley’s that the RCMP had taken from the murder scene as possible evidence.

In the order, RCMP Corp. Matthew Hartwig of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) presented a request to have 30 days to turn over the items.

Sunday (June 16) marked the end of the 30-day period. Coincidentally, June 16 was also Dudley’s birthday. She would have been 48.

The Surakkas met briefly with Mission RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve Crawford before leaving the detachment to address the media.

They said they were told Mission’s evidence room is closed on Sundays, which is why the items were moved to Surrey, so they could be picked up on the deadline day.

“It’s Mr. Hartwig’s responsibility to bring the articles. He’s involved in the paperwork of it all and he’s responsible for that, not Mr. Crawford. Mr. Hartwig is, but he’s reluctant to come here on the Sunday on the day the judge ordered,” Mark said.

“How can it be an accommodation? That’s what they’ve said – ‘We’ve accommodated you. Come to Surrey.’ How can that be when we live here and this is an RCMP station and all they have to do is bring the boxes and let’s go through them, item by item, and make sure what you have there is what is on the judge’s order?”

The list, however, is not complete as one item – a cellphone – is still missing. Efforts are being made to locate it.

Mark added that Mission is where this tragedy all started 11 years ago and coming to the RCMP station causes them to “quake a little inside.”

Rosemarie said she’s not angry about the situation.

“(But I do feel) sick to my stomach and I’m frustrated, because a judge made an order.”

While she does want to finally get her daughter’s belongings back, it won’t give her a feeling of closure.

“There is no closure. I never use that word because there is no such thing. This is my love between me and my daughter. It doesn’t close.”

The Surakkas were scheduled to appear before a judge today (June 21) in Abbotsford to ask for the court order to be enforced.

They want an exact time and an exact date to have the items returned – and not in Surrey.

While Staff Sgt. Crawford said he could not comment on details of the situation, he did agree to discuss why the evidence, which had been stored in Mission for years, was moved.

“It’s an IHIT file and, although the exhibits were stored in Mission, in this case, the protocols are wherever the offence takes place. That agency stores the exhibits. But it’s IHIT’s investigation so arguably they are IHIT’s exhibits and it’s IHIT who has authority over what happens to them and when. So we simply were the repository and IHIT’s efforts were to try to facilitate the return – because we are closed on Sundays, exhibits are certainly closed and we run short hours with short staff – and that was attempted but obviously wasn’t to their liking,” Crawford said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dallas Lajimodiere is wanted by the Abbotsford Police Department.
Man wanted by Abbotsford Police domestic violence unit

Dallas Lajimodiere has three arrest warrants, including for assault with a weapon

Subm
Mission art gallery re-opens after 10 months

‘People are in need of some visual things just to take them away’

Russell Jonathon George Gurney was last seen in Chilliwack in mid-December. (RCMP photo)
RCMP ask for help to find missing Abbotsford man last seen in Chilliwack

Police and family are concerned for the well-being of Russell Jonathon George Gurney

Grade 6 students at Eugene Reimer Middle School have been participating in the Equity Backpack Project. (Submitted photo)
Equity Backpack Project in Abbotsford addresses inclusion and anti-racism

Grade 6 teacher Nerlap Sidhu says she wants students to develop ‘strong sense of self’

Ottawa serial killer Camille Joseph Cleroux died of natural causes at Abbotsford’s Pacific Institution on Sunday.
Serial killer housed at Abbotsford’s Pacific Institution dies of natural causes

Camille Joseph Cleroux announced dead on Sunday, known as notorious Ottawa serial killer

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Ralliers gather in front of the Cityviews Village apartment building in Maple Ridge to protest attempts to evict low-income tenants by the building owner. (Ronan O’Doherty - The News)
Tenants protest pressure tactics by new landlord at Maple Ridge apartment building

Protest held in front of Cityviews Village on 223 St. Tuesday to rally against low-income evictions

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

Most Read