DELTA, B.C. — A girl who heard her friend scream from a wooded park before finding her friend on the ground with b loody injuries is devastated after the deadly attack, the girl’s father says.
“They heard a scream and rushed into the path to find her and they found her in the condition she was in,” said Ray Yuen.
His daughter was one of the teenagers who planned on meeting Laura Szendrei, 15, in the park Saturday afternoon. Szendrei died of her injuries the next day.
Yuen said his daughter and the entire community are in shock.
“We can’t imagine what the parents are going through. It’s just a matter of trying to heal and see how things go.”
Fear, confusion and rumours dominated conversation in the Vancouver bedroom community on Monday following the weekend assault.
Teenagers and parents poured into Burnsview Secondary School, hoping to hear something more about who killed Szendrei and why.
Yuen said Szendrei and several of her friends had been maced by someone the week before, but no one is sure if that incident is connected with the teen’s murder.
“Years ago, when kids had a disagreement, they settled it one-on-one, Now it seems to be groups, friends of groups, it’s unpredictable,” Yuen said.
He said his daughter is spending time with the other friends who found the Szendrei beaten bloody on the path just steps away from where several organized sports games were going on.
He said it was unusual for Szendrei to be in the park alone.
“Normally when they were going to meet up, they’d usually walk to her house and they’d walk together. But I guess, for whatever reason, she decided to walk by herself.”
Many of the teenage girls walking into an information meeting at Burnsview admitted they were worried about their own safety.
“I’m really overwhelmed, I’m really scared because I live pretty close to it. It really freaked me out,” said Lisa Mann, 15, of the murder.
Her friend Sam Sonsalla, who goes to the high school just across the park from the murder, said what most concerned her is the attack seemed random.
“The fact that they’re still out there, they haven’t been caught. I’m just nervous to go around Delta,” she said.
A tribute board and a memorial of flowers, drawings and poems filled the front entrance to the school.
“I’ll miss you Snooks,” one person wrote, referring to Szendrei’s nickname of Snookie.
“I still don’t know how this happened. You’ll always be in our hearts,” a friend, Jessica, wrote.
Grief counsellors were at the school Monday, where classes were off because of a scheduled professional development day.
Even as compliments to the dead teen were written on the wall, a Facebook page set up as a memorial to the teen was riddled with insensitive and obscene comments and pictures.
Many of those who joined the page to write condolences and express support for Szendrei’s family and friends also noted their revulsion for the postings by people police say don’t know the 15-year-old.
Delta Police Sgt. Sharlene Brooks said officers are disgusted by the notes and pictures.
“There’s some pretty disturbed individuals out there that would take advantage of this and try and bring more grief to this family and her friends,” Brooks said Monday.
“That is just very disturbing to us.”
The messages were likely created by so-called trolls, virtual vandals who post material to such memorial pages with the aim of offending. Those writing in support of Szendrei urged others on the Facebook page to ignore them.
Brooks said police still aren’t sure whether the deadly assault was random or targeted.
More than 20 Delta police officers were combing the park and canvassing the surrounding area.
Brooks said investigators are hoping to speak to a man they’ve identified as a person of interest, someone between 16 and 25, who was seen leaving the park while texting or talking on a cell phone.