In wake of beating, hockey mom’s family facing hard call

SURREY, B.C. — The Globe and Mail

RCMP officers search for evidence outside the Newton Arena in Surrey, B.C., on Monday December 30, 2013, where a 53-year old woman was attacked Sunday night. (DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The family of a hockey mom violently attacked outside an arena is having to make some extremely tough decisions.

Julie Paskall, 53, remains in hospital with what police are saying is a significant brain injury.

Sergeant Adam MacIntosh says investigators are working all-out to discover what happened to Ms. Paskall in the early evening assault Sunday, but officers are also supporting her family.

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“They are consulting doctors and I think they are having to make some very difficult decisions and that’s a very private thing,” Sgt. MacIntosh said in an interview.

He said everyone is hoping “there is a miracle and something happens and she recovers.”

But he said that’s unlikely. “She’s still alive physically, but it’s expected she is not going to survive.”

Sgt. MacIntosh said officers will support the family in whatever decision they make, including one that might lead to Ms. Paskall’s death.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team took over the case Monday. Sgt. MacIntosh has said the attack may have been motivated by robbery and appeared to be unprovoked and random.

There were similarities between Sunday’s attack and one two weeks earlier, police have said.

Sgt. MacIntosh said Tuesday police are looking for anyone with information to come forward. He said several tips have come in, though he wasn’t sure exactly how many.

He added: “There is always more information out there. There are always people who are not sure what to do. . . We are still encouraging anyone with information to come forward.”

RCMP have cautioned Surrey residents to be “extra vigilant.”

In a news release, the force urged people to be aware of their surroundings and take off headphones, to carry only necessary identification and money, to carry a cellphone and to stay in well-lit areas. Anyone who is approached or threatened is urged to hand over whatever an attacker wants.

There have been two dozen homicides so far this year in Surrey, which has been battling a reputation for crime for years. This year’s toll has prompted the mayor to launch a police task force last month on drug and gang activity in the city and any other possible contributing factors to the high homicide rate.

With a report from CP