13-year-old B.C. girl was strangled to death, forensic pathologist tells murder trial

Police tape is strung across a path in Burnaby's Central Park, where a teenager's body was found on July 19, 2017. (Provided by B.C. Supreme Court - image credit)
Police tape is strung across a path in Burnaby's Central Park, where a teenager's body was found on July 19, 2017. (Provided by B.C. Supreme Court - image credit)

WARNING: This story contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced sexual violence or know someone affected by it.

A 13-year-old girl whose body was found in a popular Burnaby Park in 2017 was strangled to death, according to the doctor who performed the autopsy.

Dr. Jason Morin, a forensic pathologist who worked at Vancouver General Hospital at the time, outlined his findings from his examination of the deceased teen's body while testifying during the trial of Ibrahim Ali.

"I came to the conclusion that [the victim] died secondary to strangulation," Morin told defence prosecutor Isobel Keeley, indicating strangulation was the primary cause and other causes were secondary to that.

Supporting his conclusion were facial petechial hemorrhages, or minor, burst blood vessels beneath the victim's chin and eyes, consistent with strangulation injuries.

His conclusion also took into consideration the findings of a neuropathologist who found the victim suffered fatal brain injuries most likely caused by it being cut off from blood and oxygen for up to 10 minutes.

The girl's name is protected by a publication ban.

Crown prosecutors contend the victim was passing through Burnaby Central Park on July 18, 2017, when she was attacked and dragged into the woods before she was sexually assaulted and strangled to death.

Ali has been charged with the first-degree murder of the teen. The Crown contends that DNA recovered from the crime scene belonged to Ali.

Felicity Don
Felicity Don

More injuries, discoveries detailed

During a summary of his report, Morin said there were injuries to the victim's vagina and anus. He said sperm cells were recovered from her body.

Morin said there were also cuts, bruises, and scrapes found on the victim's arms and legs and small scrapes on the back of her head. He said leaves and twigs were also found on her body and tangled in her hair.

Morin said the victim's clothes were also examined for trace substances and then sent to police labs for further testing.

Morin's testimony is expected to continue on Tuesday.

Dozens more witnesses are scheduled to testify in the coming weeks, with the trial expected to last until at least the end of June.

Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. If you're in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.