The family of a 35-year-old man killed April 7 at a homeless camp in Abbotsford is appealing to the public for information.
Robert Nelson was stabbed at around 10:15 p.m. in the area of King and Riverside roads. No suspects have been arrested.
A statement released from his mom, Angie Nelson, was released Monday afternoon (June 14), saying her son had been struggling with a drug addiction, and that it – combined with homelessness – “placed him in a time and place of vulnerability.”
“Like so many in today’s society, he had issues, which he was struggling with. My son is a human being and deserves to be treated with the dignity, respect, compassion, and care as that is how he treated others. He did not deserve to be murdered,” she said.
Nelson said she visited the homeless camp and shelter where Robert had been staying for the three years before his death. She said she visited the tent he built and lived in, and “paid homage to where his body was found.”
She said during the more than six hours she spent there, she met many of his friends.
“(They) shared stories of how he touched their lives, helped those in need even when he had nothing at all, and how he showed compassion and love to all.”
Nelson said Robert, whose family is based in Alberta and Saskatchewan, had been an accomplished wrestler in high school and fought in mixed martial arts until three years ago.
She described him as “a man that stood for justice, honour, respect, loyalty, love, kindness, compassion, consideration, devotion and had a heart of gold.”
“His smile and laughter were contagious and he always had a good story to share. He loved so many things in life and believed in living life to the fullest.”
Nelson said Robert is the second child she has lost due to “drug-addiction-related deaths.” Her daughter died from suicide two years ago during her struggle with drugs.
“Our system is broken and is failing those who need help,” she said.
In honour of her son, she has created a Facebook group called Alliance Against Drug Addiction & Homelessness “to advocate for change, better services and a modern approach to right the epidemic of drug addiction and the cascade of social problems.”
A GoFundMe page, titled Robert Nelson Memorial and Family Expenses, has also been set up to help the family with expenses, including funeral costs.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) is continuing to investigate the killing.Anyone with information is asked to contact the IHIT information line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or firstname.lastname@example.org.