The Murder of Lindsay Buziak

The Crime Scene – the 1st year of the investigation – 13 years later

1702 DeSousa Place Saanich

The first 48 hours of any homicide investigation is critical

It can mean the difference between a closed case and a cold case. As the clock starts ticking, each second is as crucial as the next. There is a great deal of truth to the theory that chances of solving a homicide are cut in half if police don’t get their first viable lead in the first 48 hours. When the Saanich Police arrived on the scene at 1702 DeSousa Place they quickly realized that they were dealing with a contaminated crime scene. Jason Zailo and his friend had gained entry to the home, leaving their fingerprints/footprints everywhere they went – the door handles, the handrails leading to the upper level, footprints on the carpets and hardwood floors they walked on.

Outside the home, the two had run through the garden beds looking into the windows, ran around to the backyard thereby touching the back gate and whatever else as they went. Cohen’s fingerprints would have been all over the top of the fence where Jason lifted him over. Not only did they compromise the crime scene Jason touched the victim’s body. He attempts to give Lindsay CPR as she lay on the floor of the master bedroom floor, then realizes she is dead as he touched her skin and found her cold to the touch.

The Saanich Police blocked entry to the surrounding area, brought in cadaver dogs in an attempt to track the suspects but the dogs were unable to pick up the scent – and this would suggest the suspects were picked up in a vehicle very close to the DeSousa property. After 48 hours at the crime scene, the police found no DNA or forensic evidence, and no weapon. The killers were well schooled on how to commit a murder without leaving evidence at the scene. They most likely wore gloves and knew how to cover their tracks. The home had been cleaned that morning by the owner’s wife Shelagh, apparently it was routine for her to clean the home every Saturday.

Saturday was a working day

The tradespeople had left the cul-de-sac at around 4:30 pm and the owner Joe DeSousa just before 5:00. It was such a short timeline between the time the trades left and Lindsay arrived – so it’s very possible that a lookout was parked nearby to make sure nothing went wrong. The loc-box which was located on the gas meter on the garage side of the home had been accessed at 5:29, the same time that Lindsay was talking to Jason on the phone as he was leaving the SHC parking lot. If Jason had checked the loc-box it would have been empty as Lindsay had the key.

THE 1ST YEAR OF THE INVESTIGATION

That first month of the investigation the major crime investigators gathered fingerprints and footprints from people who had been inside the empty home where the body of real estate agent Lindsay Buziak was found, in an attempt to eliminate suspects. This is considered routine in any murder investigation. Real estate agents submitted their fingerprints to police, as well as their shoe types and sizes in order to help police identify anyone who had been in the home on a previous showing or open house. But as we all know that information would be very difficult to track down as often people do not like to provide their identities at an Open House. And if an extra key was kept in the Re/Max office as often is the case anyone could have borrowed the key, made a copy, and returned the original to its rightful location in the office.

That first year the police poured over Buziak’s life — interviewing her friends, previous boyfriends, family and work colleagues. Inspector Rob McColl, head of the major crime unit said that detectives interviewed 1,471 people. Some interviews were conducted in B.C., others in cities such as Calgary McColl said officers chased down 752 tips and executed 30 search warrants looking for evidence, searched the Songhees condo where Buziak and Zailo lived, and collected dozens of footprints from real estate agents and clients, in an attempt to weed out suspects from legitimate prospective buyers who had toured the home.

The Saanich Police were convinced that some of the players involved in the Calgary Drug Bust were responsible for Lindsay’s murder, leading them to focus their entire investigation in Calgary. They went as far as telling Lindsay’s family not to put up a reward because they had the situation under control. They even held back the description of the couple Lindsay met at the house, holdback information the police had kept to themselves for an entire year. Clearly they believed that they were close to making an arrest, but it was only a matter of time before they realized that was not about to happen.

Who was the source of the information that sent the Saanich Police chasing suspects in Calgary – Jason Zailo AND HIS MOTHER SHIRLEY?

What would lead Jason to ever think that Lindsay’s murder was connected to the Calgary Drug Bust? Lindsay went to visit her dad in December 2007 but what did that visit have to do with anything? Did Jason know something that nobody else knew? Lindsay never connected with any of that group when she was in Calgary? She did meet up with Mitch for a visit, he was an old high school friend but that was it. Did Jason know that his mother was the “alleged” main informant who called the Calgary Police in November 2007 to rat out the Delalcazar’s cocaine shipment heading to Calgary? If he was privy to what his mother had done then certainly he may have known that Lindsay was murdered for payback. You have to wonder though, could Jason have suspected that he was the intended target? Did him and his mother concoct a plan to save Jason’s life by pointing the Delalcazars in Lindsay’s direction?

Why did the Saanich Police clear the entire Zailo family in 2009. To take the highly unusual step of clearing/exonerating murder suspects the police department would have to have rock solid knowledge that that it was impossible for the suspects to have participated in the crime and/or that the police knew the identity of the killer. Also police do not clear a suspect as an investigatory strategy to try to get the suspects to let their guard down. To do so would have the suspect the legal defense of entrapment in the event they confessed to police. Accordingly, clearing a suspect effectively precludes any further police investigation of that suspect. Its obvious to any lay person that the Zailos could have been involved in the crime. The fact that they were cleared – precluding further examination of them – strongly indicates that the Saanich Police Department believes for all these years that they know the identity of the killer/s.

It does not take 13 years to get a confession from a known killer, so this suggests that something else is going on here. It could include the following:

If the Saanich Police had gotten the identity of the true killers wrong (all the drug related tangents would suggest this possibility) and accordingly, made a colossal irreversible error in investigatory judgement by prematurely clearing the Zailos. Many unanswered questions remain about Jason and Shirley’s comments and behavior, and in any event, everyone close to a crime remains a suspect.

The Saanich Police cleared the Zailos as part of a bigger coverup as has been suggested in the past. There is no evidence of any coverup – therefore we can only speculate in this regard, and it’s highly unlikely given the lack of any evidence for it.

A combination of the above – Saanich Police got the identity of the killers wrong, then incompetently and prematurely cleared the Zailos and are now stalling to cover it up because it has left them with a legal and investigatory disaster of not being able to further investigate the Zailos – a blunder so bad it would tempt any police department to sweep it under the rug.

In any of the above scenarios, we can remain entirely confident that the Saanich Police Department has not and cannot be legally investigating Shirley or Jason since 2010 at the latest. So as the public has been carefully dissecting Jason’s highly unusual behavior and Shirley’s dateline comments, and have become reasonably more and more suspicious , we know the police haven’t been looking at this since they cleared the entire family in late 2009. Any outside police agency would likely be precluded from considering the possibility of Shirley and Jason’s involvement since the Saanich Police had already cleared them before other police agencies were involved.

The Zailos had the motive, means and opportunity but the police chose to take the entire family at their word, never looked into who their associates were and treated them like innocent victims of circumstance. Some of the Saanich Police officers were friends with Shirley Zailo so you have to wonder how much those friendships influenced their decision to clear the family of all suspicion. Remember, Jason’s mother is charismatic and has an uncanny narcassistic ability to bamboozle anyone that gets in her way. She has fooled a lot of people over the years but maybe not so much anymore.

13 YEARS LATER AND IMPORTANT QUESTIONS REMAIN

It does not take 13 years to get a confession from a known killer, so this suggests that something else is going on here. If the Saanich Police had gotten the identity of the true killers wrong (all the drug related tangents would suggest this possibility) and accordingly, made a colossal irreversible error in investigatory judgement by prematurely clearing the Zailos.

Given the potential entrapment issue created by publicly clearing the Zailos, the only way that the Saanich Police Department could at this point investigate Jason & Shirley would be to retract their earlier statement exonerating them and letting them know that they are suspects again. This is fraught with all kinds of obvious problems – tipping them off being the most obvious – perhaps giving them the defense of reasonable doubt if they ever get charged – and it would explain why the investigation is so obviously stalled. Their own possible egregious errors in judgement cannot be undone rather than some greater speculative coverup involving the police in the crime itself, which of course I just don’t see and is highly unlikely.

Why, so early on in the investigation did the Saanich Police decide that those close to Lindsay could not be responsible, despite their exceedingly suspicious conduct around the murder. Not only that, Lindsay’s boyfriend and his family had the means and opportunity to commit the crime in a very controlled setting that they were very familiar with. Of course they did not murder Lindsay, but where is the evidence that supports that they could not have been involved in the planning of her murder? At the end of 2009 the Saanich Police publicly cleared the entire Zailo family of having any involvement in Lindsay’s murder but what evidence do they have to support this very narrow-minded thinking? The motivation was clear – Lindsay had shared with so many people that she was planning on leaving Jason so why were the Saanich Police so determined not to pursue these key suspects beyond some cursory investigation.

The critical failure of police is that they had a single-minded desire to pin the crime on someone, and that decision just may have been what stalled this investigation. The Saanich Police alone are not going to solve this case, other authorities have been brought in to help in the investigation. At one time the Saanich Police had a major disincentive to solve the crime. Their single-minded focus at the start caused important leads to go untouched, and while they focused all their attention on the people involved in the Calgary Drug Bust suspects right here under their nose were left to fine tune their stories and move on with their lives.

Did the Saanich Police leave murder evidence trails cold by wasting time with police single-mindedly focusing on a theory of the crime that does not fit the evidence of the crime? Indeed such a faulty premise is destined to fail. When the failure persists and deepens over time, the pattern shows that the police deeply entrench even more.

The past years have shown that the entrenchment is deeply rooted so the question to be asked is this. Are the Saanich Police now undertaking a serious investigation of the “once” prime suspects?

Put yourself in their shoes. Just think how bad this would have looked for them if they had to admit that they had cleared suspects early on that should not have been cleared. They would have to change their thinking and put their minds to solving the crime and investigating the “right” suspects. It would require them to admit that the suspects have continued to live right here in our community right under our noses, continuing to engage in questionable and likely illegal activity through their businesses and the Saanich Police let them walk because of shoddy policing and probably because they had personal connections to the suspects. To go down this road would require them to admit their supreme failure as police – at that time they had a major disadvantage to want to solve the crime. Hopefully today that mindset has changed.

Justice can still be served in this case, but it is going to take some serious police work and the courage to admit that mistakes were made along the way.

Early in 2021 the Saanich Police announced that they were re-opening the investigation into Lindsay’s murder AND THEY HAD THIS TO SAY.

Our tight-knit community wants to understand what happened to Lindsay 13 years ago as we are all connected to what happens in this area. To find those answers we have established a task force comprised of new investigators who are taking a fresh look at the case. The task force has obtained assistance from the FBI, and continued support from the RCMP. Both agencies have provided valuable assistance in the development of new leads and forensic evidence. If they can finally determine what really happened and who is responsible, the question then becomes, are they able to gather the evidence to support a charge?

Today, the Saanich Police, the Victoria Police. the RCMP, the FBI are all actively involved, desperately seeking justice to Lindsay and her family. What will come of this is yet to be seen.

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