VICTORIA — Recently unsealed documents are shedding new light on the investigation into the unsolved murder of Victoria real estate agent Lindsay Buziak.
The 24-year-old woman’s body was found in a home in the Gordon Head area of Saanich on Feb. 2, 2008.
More than 12 years later, a joint investigation by the Saanich police and the RCMP has yielded no arrests and the homicide case remains open.
In a story published Sunday, the Capital Daily reveals key details of the police investigation, including that a pair of so-called “crime phones” were identified by investigators as connected to Buziak’s death.
Saanich police are saying little about the revelations.
“The release of the redacted copies was only step one,” Saanich police spokesperson Chris Horsley told CTV News on Tuesday. Horsley said the police department will be in court over the documents’ release for at least the remainder of the year.
According to the Capital report, Buziak received a phone call from a woman with a “strong Mexican or Spanish accent” several days before her murder.
The woman on the phone said her husband had just been transferred to Victoria and the couple needed a million-dollar house.
Saanich police investigators have determined this was a prepaid phone with a Vancouver number that had not been used to contact anyone but Buziak, according to the report. A second “crime phone” was used to check voicemail messages on the first.
The name used to register the main phone was “Paulo Rodriquez,” which the Saanich police later determined to be a fake name, according to the Capital.
Buziak, a relatively junior real estate agent, was immediately suspicious of the call, and so was her boyfriend Jason Zailo.
The Capital reports the unknown woman told Buziak she had been referred to her. But when Buziak called around to ask her other clients, no one knew anything about it.
The unsealed documents, many of which remain heavily redacted, show there were 10 more calls between the phone and Buziak.
The real estate agent eventually arranged to show the couple several listings – all of them “vacant” and “new,” as per the client’s wishes, the Capital reports.
During one 10-minute phone call, police believe Buziak provided the address of the Gordon Head home where she was eventually killed.
After the conversation, the caller may have used MapQuest for the purpose of “familiarizing themselves with the area” and “planning escape routes,” according to the police documents cited in the report.
On the day of her death, Buziak planned to meet the couple at the 1702 De Souza Pl. home at 5:30 p.m. Buziak’s boyfriend, also a licensed broker, reportedly offered to show the home for her but the offer wasn’t taken up.
Buziak stopped by her RE/MAX Camosun office on Chatterton Way that afternoon and spoke with a receptionist whose identity is still redacted. The receptionist said Buziak was feeling “really weird” and “freaked out” about the showing, according to the report.
Just before the showing, Buziak called Zailo to tell him she was on her way to the house and he offered to meet her there. Buziak agreed but still wanted to do the showing herself.
The Capital reports that Zailo and a friend were heading to the house when Zailo called Buziak for directions. Buziak cut the conversation short when the prospective buyers apparently arrived, reportedly saying “Oh, I’ve got to go. They’re here.”
Buziak texted him the address and Zailo responded that he was on his way. Buziak apparently never opened that text.
The Capital reports that Zailo and his friend arrived at the house around 5:45 p.m. and Zailo reportedly saw a male figure through one of the home’s front door windows.
Buziak’s black BMW was in the driveway, but further texts and calls from Zailo to her phone went unanswered.
Zailo and his friend waited outside for 10 minutes, finding the front door locked and ringing the doorbell approximately 10 times, according to the report. Zailo also tried contacting the home’s listing agent to get the passcode for the garage but these efforts were apparently unfruitful as Zailo eventually called 911.
The Capital reports that Zailo told the 911 dispatcher that his girlfriend was meeting a female client from out of town and had asked him to “kind of follow her” because she was “kind of scared.”
He reportedly told the operator he had seen a man through the glass “in the door” and he could see Buziak’s high-heel shoes through the window.
Walking around the house, Zailo and his friend noticed an enclosed patio and saw the back door was open. Police believe the perpetrators of the murder fled through this door.
Zailo reportedly helped his friend over the fence before running back to the front door for his friend to unlock it and let him in. The pair then reportedly did a sweep of the house with Zailo running upstairs.
Zailo found Buziak’s body in the master bedroom and called for his friend, who called 911 again at approximately 6:11 p.m.
According to a summary of the call obtained by the Capital, Zailo’s friend said they had just entered the house, found “bloody footprints” inside and found Buziak lying in a “pool of blood.”
The police documents reportedly say Zailo checked Buziak’s arm for a pulse and tried to perform CPR.
Police have said they believe Buziak was attacked between 5:38 p.m. and 5:41 p.m., when her Blackberry apparently made an accidental call.
A coroner’s report obtained by the Capital estimates her time of death was approximately 5:40 p.m., just minutes before the two men arrived at the house. Buziak died of multiple stab wounds.
Police took Zailo in for questioning and searched the area of the home but it remains unclear what they found in the way of evidence.
In an interview with CTV News on Tuesday, Buziak’s father says he still lacks confidence in the Saanich police investigation.
“We’re 12 and a half years – almost 13, actually – into this murder,” Jeff Buziak said. “I’m always surprised that every resident of Saanich doesn’t show up at my annual Walk for Justice for Lindsay because right now, psychologically, you can murder in Saanich because there are no consequences.”
Zander Sherman, the investigative reporter who wrote the story for the Capital, tells CTV News that police appear to know far more about the case – particularly about the phone used to contact Buziak – than they have revealed.
“The most important finding is police allege they know the name of whoever or whatever is ultimately responsible for that phone,” Sherman said Tuesday. “I certainly think there are now many more questions than there were previously.”
The real name of the owner of both phones is known to police, according to the Capital, but remains unknown to the public at this time.