New theory: Killers hit Buziak by mistake
Police say agent might have been target based on misinformation
Lindsay Buziak, the 24year-old real estate agent stabbed to death as she showed a Gordon Head home two years ago, may have been mistakenly targeted in a contract killing, police say.
Yesterday, Det.-Sgt. Chris Horsley, a Saanich police investigator in the case, revealed new details about the killing, saying police are looking for fresh tips since they’re running into “more closed doors than open ones lately.”
Many of those details point to a high level of sophistication and planning by the killer or killers, Horsley said, right down to leaving no electronic tracks beyond the cellphone that was used only for communication with Buziak, then discarded.
Horsley said Saanich investigators have scoured Buziak’s financial records and online social networking chats — even those that she deleted — and have found nothing to indicate any criminal or drug dealings that might lead to a motive in the slaying.
That clean sheet, combined with the fact that her killer or killers operated at a level seen in professional killings, leads investigators to believe that while Buziak was clearly the intended target, she may have been slain based on misinformation.
Buziak was a young real estate agent working to establish herself in the Victoria market when she was contacted by a man and woman who said they were interested in a million-dollar property at 1702 De Sousa Pl. in Gordon Head.
Media reported widely that Buziak expressed trepidation at the showing, but Saanich police yesterday dismissed those reports, saying while Buziak felt the showing was unusual because she was not the listing agent, she wasn’t apprehensive about it.
While some reports indicated Buziak asked her boyfriend, real estate agent Jason Zailo, to check on her at the house, Horsley said Zailo went to the house because he had real estate documents for Buziak to sign.
Saanich police received their first 9-1-1 call when Zailo arrived with a friend and found the front door locked. Horsley said that as a real estate agent, Zailo instantly knew something was amiss, since standard practice is for the front door to remain unlocked during a showing.
Zailo and his friend made several attempts to enter the house, and cellphone records show he made calls to obtain access.
Within minutes, Zailo found a french door at the back open. He and his friend entered the house, where they discovered Buziak’s body in an upstairs bedroom.
Police said it’s possible the killer or killers did not drive to the house, but were dropped off and picked up.
One indication that highly sophisticated killers may have been behind Lindsay Buziak’s slaying is that remarkably little forensic evidence was found at the crime scene. All DNA evidence extracted from the house, which had been professionally cleaned the afternoon of the killing, was traced back to Buziak, Det.Sgt. Chris Horsley said yesterday.
Police investigators tracked everyone who had entered the home, including tradespeople, real estate agents and their clients, but found no fingerprint or footprint matches.
Investigators obtained volumes of data from cellphone towers in Vancouver and Victoria to look for matches between the cellphone used by the suspect couple and any other cellphone transmissions, but to date, police have not been able to find a match that might provide information leading to their identification. Horsley said that doesn’t mean the evidence doesn’t exist.
“There are literally hundreds of thousands of transmissions, and we could still find that link,” he said.
To nail down the sequence of events, police looked at the time when the lock box was accessed on the home’s front door, which is consistent with the 5:30 p.m. scheduled meeting between Buziak and the couple, and with testimony from witnesses who saw Buziak greet the pair at the front door.
They also looked at Buziak’s text messages, and found that she responded to text messages during the showing until sometime between 5:42 and 5:44 p.m., indicating the attack occurred then. Horsley said Buziak had no idea she was about to be attacked and no opportunity to fight her killers or to make any 9-1-1 or other calls for help.
Horsley would not give any details on the condition of the house, but said investigators know exactly what movements the killers made through the home after the attack, including that they left through the french door at the rear that Buziak’s boyfriend Jason Zailo discovered open around 6:15 p.m.
Horsley said the killer or killers left the house immediately after the slaying.