The RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) released the name of the man murdered at an Abbotsford homeless camp last night.
During a media scrum in front of the crime scene, IHIT spokesperson Sgt. Frank Jang revealed the 35-year-old victim was one Robert Nelson.
“Right now we are doing everything we can to find out more about Mr. Nelson and his background, and why he was here last night,” Jang said. “But this is the part where we need the help of the community.”
The victim was likely living in the homeless encampment, but no motive or suspect is known to investigators at this time, Jang said, adding they don’t believe the violence was random.
“What we’ve seen, what we know so far since last night, tells us that this was targeted,” he said.
Investigators are currently trying to interview every resident of the camp, and are appealing for potential witnesses who may have driven by the site last night, Jang said.
He said officers are actively seeking video, either CTTV or dashcam footage, but the “semi-rural” area made the search difficult.
Emergency services responded to reports of a stabbing at 10:15 p.m., April 7, at the camp located at the intersection of Riverside Road and King Road, adjacent to the Lookout Society Riverside Winter Shelter.
Jang could not say how many people are living in the camp, the number of camp residents being interviewed, or the level of co-operation they’ve received, only that investigators were thoroughly combing the entire area.
“We’re going to be here for awhile,” he said. “There’s a lot of debris and garbage, it might seem like garbage to a resident here, or to the untrained eye, but this could prove to be very important evidence for us.”
The crime scene covers a large area of the railway tracks beneath the bridge on Highway 1, which has been cordoned off by police tape in multiple sections.
“It’s really the people that knew him that can really fill in the blanks for us,” Jang said. “We’re going to be here as long as we have to.”