Early in the morning of Aug. 16, Paul Prestbakmo – known as “Pauly” to friends and family – stepped out of his South Surrey suite to take out his garbage and have a smoke.
He never came back.
Following what police are now saying was an unprovoked attack, Prestbakmo died in a nearby parking lot, in the 1800-block of 152 Street, of stab wounds inflicted around 3 a.m.
In a news conference Tuesday morning, police announced that a male who was arrested Friday morning in connection with Prestbakmo’s death has since been released without charges – “pending further investigation” – and, that residents of the property where the suspect had been tracked to “are not suspects” in the homicide.
Integrated Homicide Investigation Team spokesman Sgt. Frank Jang emphasized that detectives’ efforts are ongoing “to collect evidence for furthering to the B.C. Prosecution Service for charge assessment.”
He also disclosed that investigators are now exploring whether “extensive” injuries suffered by a second man hours earlier – and reported to White Rock RCMP that same morning – have any connection to Prestbakmo’s death.
Jang told media the earlier incident occurred at 11:55 p.m. and involved a man in his sixties who had been seen at the Coast Capital Savings located in the 1800-block of 152 Street. A badly bleeding Prestbakmo died in the driveway of the parking lot shared by the financial institution.
“Right now, there are no definitive linkages,” Jang said of the two incidents.
“Given the vicinity, given the time, we’re not taking any changes. We’re looking at the potential that the two could be related.”
While Jang had described the earlier incident as an assault, White Rock RCMP Const. Chantal Sears told Peace Arch News that investigators are still working to determine exactly what led to the man’s injuries, as well as where he was when they were sustained.
“Due to his injuries, we haven’t been able to speak to him,” Sears said.
Police were alerted to a man needing medical attention by a relative of the victim who had found him in his home, she added.
Anyone with information on that case is asked to contact White Rock RCMP at 778-593-3638.
At Tuesday’s news conference, Prestbakmo’s sister Angela implored those who could shed light on her brother’s killing to also come forward.
“Our brother, Paul, was a victim of a horrendous murder, and we need your help,” said Angela, flanked by friends and family members, including Semiahmoo First Nation councillor Joanne Charles.
“Paul was suddenly taken, violently, from us. He was attacked and murdered while walking near Semiahmoo Mall in South Surrey, and those responsible still remain at large.”
Angela described her brother, who worked as a mechanic, as someone with an “infectious, rolly-belly laugh,” contagious smile, outrageous sense of humour and love of life.
In an effort to encourage people to come forward, she shared a saying Prestbakmo was known for when things weren’t going well:
“He would say, ‘Hey, let’s make it right and do the right thing,’” she said.
“So on behalf of family and friends that are speaking up for Pauly one last time – hey, let’s make it right and do the right thing.”
Anyone with information that could help investigators is asked to call the IHIT tip line at 1-877-551-4448 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or solvecrime.ca