Maple Batalia Murder: Dozens Of Police Investigate Killing Of Surrey, B.C. Model, Actor, Student
SURREY, B.C. - Between 40 and 50 police officers in Surrey, B.C. are trying to solve the shooting death of a 19-year-old model, actor and student.
Maple Batalia, who once had a small role in the movie "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," was found early Wednesday morning near an entrance to the Surrey Central City campus of Simon Fraser University. She later died in hospital.
Police don't know whether or not the killing was targeted because it's unclear if Batalia knew her attacker, said Sgt. Peter Thiessen, an RCMP spokesman.
He said police have been speaking to individuals and persons of interests.
"We haven't got any reason to believe that this is in any way got anything to do with any gang or drug activity or connection on the part of this young lady," he said.
"She was an outstanding student, a pillar in her community. She was a beautiful young lady in the prime of her life and this is not a result of any questionable lifestyle on her part."
Harkirat Batalia, Maple's father, said he believes the main suspect is an old schoolmate.
Thiessen said police have spoken to the family and are aware of that information, adding investigators are looking at other areas, too.
"We're not limiting our focus in any one direction," he said.
Police are looking at what video may or may not be available and determining its value, said Thiessen.
While police have a good idea of how many shots were fired in the killing, they are not releasing those details or any other evidence they may have collected, he added.
Batalia used modelling and acting to help pay for her education and once had a small role in the movie "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."
Harkirat Batalia said his daughter was the youngest of three children and dreamed of becoming a doctor. She was born near Mumbai, India, and was only six-months-old when the family moved to Canada.
"I've lost everything I had," he said. "My life source is gone. I wished I was dead many years back so that I didn't have to see this day. I cannot explain in any terms how to live now."
The family said Maple will be cremated, after which they will hold a prayer service at a Sikh temple where a priest will recite passages from a holy book and pray for her soul.
_By Keven Drews in Vancouver