04/11/2014 10:43 EDT | Updated 06/11/2014 05:59 EDT

Parents of 'webcam murder' victim say they have lost their entire future

TORONTO - The parents of a university student from China who was murdered in her Toronto apartment can count with agonizing precision how long ago they lost their only child and their "entire future."

Qian Liu, 23, was killed in April 2011 by Brian Dickson, a fellow tenant in her off-campus housing, who was convicted Monday of first-degree murder.

It has been three years since Liu was killed just hours after chatting with her mother about how she was looking forward to going home to Beijing.

But for her parents, the time is measured not in years, but in minutes, hours and days. Every minute since Liu was murdered her parents have thought about their "lovely" daughter, they say in a statement released Friday by the detective in charge of the case.

For hours every day Liu's mother Ya Ru Zheng sits in front of the computer not moving, hoping her beautiful daughter's face will appear for a chat, they write.

"It has been 1,086 days since her death," her father, Jian Hui Liu, writes. "This incident has damaged my family in every way."

Celebratory days such as New Year's and Chinese Family Reunion day have become dark moments, Liu writes.

"Every weekend we both take the two-hour bus trip on a bumpy road up to her grave site to visit our beloved daughter," he writes.

"This is our family reunion; our family of three including her cold grave stone. We have no words, but just keep each other company with great memories. We just stand there and think about her as no words can explain how much our hearts hurt."

The jury that convicted Dickson of Qian Liu's murder heard several days of evidence about her activities leading up to her death, Dickson's sexual assault on her, and complex pathological evidence. The jury also heard from Liu's ex-boyfriend, who witnessed much of Dickson's attack on her via webcam.

But it did not hear much about the life that Liu lead in the 23 years before she was killed.

She was born on Sept. 9, 1989 and the "pretty angel" gave her parents happiness and joy, they write.

As a child it was clear she had talents in language and art, her parents write. In kindergarten she would often tell stories to classmates and they called her "storymaster," they say.

"Liu Qian was charming, very nice and had a good heart," her parents write. "She was easy going with others and trusted others. She was enthusiastic about community activities; she was a blood donor and volunteered often. Once she saw an injured kitten and brought it home to take care of. When the cat died she cried for days."

She went to study at York University in 2010 and looked forward to a bright future in China once she completed her studies in Canada, they say.

"She was accepted to a couple of additional colleges in Canada, but she was not satisfied and wanted something more," her parents write. "As her parents we were very proud of her but wanted her to come home soon on holiday. But everything changed suddenly on April 15, 2011."

Liu and her mother had been chatting just 10 hours before getting word something was wrong. She had purchased her ticket home and talked about how much she missed her family, favourite foods and friends in Beijing, they say.

Now, her mother sits alone crying. Her father keeps busy with work and keeps his pain in his heart, he writes.

"To lose our one and only lovely daughter, we have lost our entire future."