SURREY, B.C. - A British Columbia hockey mom who was viciously attacked as she waited for her son at a Surrey hockey rink died Tuesday.
Sgt. Adam MacIntosh of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said Julie Paskall succumbed to the injuries she suffered on Sunday night outside the Newton Arena.
Police said from the outset that the 53-year-old mother of three was not expected to survive and Paskall's family gathered at her hospital bedside as she remained on life support to say goodbye.
Relative Randy Paskall posted a heartbreaking message on Facebook.
"Off to say a last goodbye to a friend and family member of 35 years. One who taught me much in the rules of life, made me a better person, picked me up when I was down, showed me a better road, and was what a person/friend/parent/mother/daughter/wife/role model should strive to be in this thing called life," he wrote.
"Nothing can bring her back, it will never be the same without her, no matter what happens after this, let us weep but not lose strength or most of all WHO we are.
"My message to you my friends, is to keep your heads up, this is no longer the world we grew up in. Stay vigilant. Stay safe. Stay healthy."
Police suspect Paskall was the victim of a random robbery as she waited for her referee son to finish officiating a minor hockey game.
"This was an unprovoked attack," MacIntosh said. "It appears the motive remains robbery, and... we're working very hard to try and find out what happened."
Investigators were reviewing surveillance tape and appealed for public assistance to identify a suspect. They believe the attack is similar to another in the same Metro Vancouver area on Dec. 16.
"This is truly an innocent individual who was just there going about her life and did nothing, and lost her life for nothing," MacIntosh said. "We want to solve this and we really, really need the public to help us here."
MacIntosh said some people have already come forward but investigators want to speak to everyone who may have information.
Paskall was a volunteer for the Surrey Minor Hockey Association, and at least one of her children plays in the league.
There have been two dozen homicides in Surrey in 2013, a record high that prompted the mayor to launch a task force last month.
Harry Bains, the member of the provincial legislature for Surrey-Newton, said he and two other local MLAs met with RCMP Supt. Bill Fordy on Tuesday to discuss Paskall's death and the increasing violence in the city.
"People need to feel safe using these public facilities. They need to feel safe in their own homes," Bains said.
Bains said he's received many calls from constituents for whom this crime — targeting a mother picking up her son — has "caused alarm beyond belief."
"They (RCMP) told us they are as concerned as anyone else is and they're telling us they're doing everything they can with the resources they have."