RAYMOND Lee Caissie, 43, who has been arrested and charged with second degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Serena Vermeersch, was convicted in 1991 for rape, robbery and forcible confinement involving a 21-year-old woman in Abbotsford and was released from federal prison just last year. He was arrested again last January for breach of recognizance and jailed for three months.
A BC Corrections warning in June last year said that Caissie “has maintained a varied pattern of offending, having offended both violently and sexually, in both an opportunistic and impulsive manner.”
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team could not release his identity at a press conference on Monday morning because of a publication ban that had been granted to defence counsel. But later, in the afternoon, the ban was lifted and the accused was identified.
A/Supt. Dwayne McDonald, Officer in Charge of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, told the media: “On September 15, Serena Vermeersch went missing while walking to her Surrey home. Out of concern for her daughter, Serena’s mother called the police and an extensive search ensued. Sadly, on September 16, Serena’s body was located.
“It was evident, in the early stages of this investigation that Serena had met with foul play. It was also evident that her murder was random and was likely by an individual not known to her.
“Based on the apparent randomness of this attack, IHIT and Surrey RCMP recognized the urgency to release a public warning.
“The support and influx of tips from the public has not gone unnoticed. This coupled with the cooperation from businesses in the area has assisted investigators greatly in piecing together the evidence, and ultimately securing charge approval.
He added: “Over the past seven days IHIT has worked in partnership with the community of Surrey, the Surrey RCMP and their Support Services and E-Division Support Services to gather the evidence left in the wake of this violent crime.”
Chief Superintendent Dan Malo, Lower Mainland District Commander of RCMP, and Surrey RCMP Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy also addressed the media.
The Vermeersch family said in a statement: “We are currently receiving the support we need from friends and family in the face of Serena’s passing. We appreciate the concern and kind words we are receiving, but we respectfully ask that our privacy remain undisturbed. If we wish to contact the media at some point in the future, we will initiate that contact. Until that point, we would like to be left to our grieving. Thank you.”