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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Murdered man found in Abbotsford farm field


The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) has confirmed it's investigating a murder after a man was found dead in a muddy Abbotsford field on Sunday morning. "It is too early to say whether this is gang-related or a targeted killing," said IHIT spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Pound in a press statement on Monday morning. Investigators' first priority is to identify the victim and confirm the cause of death, said Pound. The man, believed to be between 20 and 30 years old, was found in a field in the 33600 block of Farmer Road. Investigators are hopeful an autopsy Monday will shed some light on the victim's identity and the cause of death, said Pound. A man out on a Sunday morning drive discovered the dead man lying 10 metres off Farmer Road. He called police around 9:20 a.m. and then waited until officers arrived, said Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald on Sunday. IHIT was called out to the scene later in the day to investigate the strange circumstances. "Certainly it's suspicious for a person to be 10 metres off a roadway in the middle of a farm field and be dead," MacDonald said. However, at the time, police officers didn't see obvious signs as to whether they were dealing with a heart attack or a homicide, he said. Residents of the rural area said officers and a police dog spent Sunday scouring a raspberry field on the north side of Farmer Road close to the intersection with McCallum Road. Mark Vaandrager, the owner of a nearby nursery, said he and his family noticed the police combing the field for evidence when they went to church at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Although officers provided residents with few details, Vaandrager doesn't feel people living in the area are in danger. "It doesn't seem like it's somebody local, so I'm not scared it's some random thing," Vaandrager said, adding the victim is likely someone with ties to gangs or the drug trade. "It's an unfortunate thing that happens in the Fraser Valley," he said. "It seems to be tied to the drug mess." IHIT members will continue to canvass the area and conduct neighborhood inquiries, said Pound. The dead man is Abbotsford's second murder victim of 2012. Ryan Saint-Ange, 21, was found dead in a home on 56th Avenue near the Aldergrove border on Jan. 14. No arrests have been made in the case but investigators do not believe it was gang-related.



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