Who killed Lindsay Buziak? Realtor's murder believed to be targeted hit
Solve This Crime 06/09/2017 1:47 pm PDT
UPDATE February 1, 2021:
CBC reports police in Saanich, B.C., say advancements in technology, including DNA analysis, have helped create new leads in the unsolved murder case of a real estate agent killed during a showing more than 10 years ago.
A new team of local investigators has been working with the FBI to re-examine the murder of Lindsay Buziak, who was stabbed to death while showing an empty home in a Saanich cul-de-sac on Feb. 2, 2008.
June 9, 2017:
A million-dollar listing, two very motivated buyers and a young up-and-coming real estate agent found stabbed to death in the master suite.
Was it a crime of passion, a business deal gone wrong, or was the vicious murder of 24-year-old Lindsay Buziak all part of one giant cocaine conspiracy?
Buziak was targeted -- that much authorities say with confidence. Why? That's something Lindsay Buziak's loved ones still struggle to understand.
Lindsay Buziak was the kind of girl other people wanted to be around. Especially people like Jason Zailo.
"She was with Jason, at the time, and I knew that she was extremely happy," said Sara Buziak, Lindsay's sister. "I absolutely adored him."
"Lindsay and Jason had probably been dating for a little less than a year, around a year, somewhat in that period," said Lindsay's father Jeff Buziak. "They did move into together. Jason's mom Shirley bought a expensive waterfront property, and so they moved into there."
Lindsay's father felt there was something boiling underneath.
"He adored Lindsay, but he was overprotective, over-possessive, jealous, and that really bothered Lindsay," said Jeff Buziak.
Exactly how much was revealed later. But for the most part, her family says Lindsay seemed happy. Especially when it came to her new career selling houses in upscale Victoria, British Columbia.
"Getting into real estate was a big thing for her," said Sara Buziak. "She loved it."
In fact, roughly a year into her job, Lindsay Buziak was suddenly approached with the kind of deal many agents wait their whole careers to get, which she wrote about in her day-planner.
"She received a cold call out of the blue from clients requesting to purchase a house over the weekend," said Saanich Police Sgt. Chris Horsley. "The lady phoned said 'We need to have a house set up,' some fairly specific parameters: it needed to be immediately move-in ready, had to be within 15 to 20 minutes from town. And they were looking at a home in the million-dollar range."
But was it too good to be true? Apparently, Lindsay had some doubts.
"She said 'Daddy, there's something weird I'm sensing about this,' and I said, 'Well what's going on honey?' And she said 'Well, the woman sounded weird.'"
Not at the company number on her brochures, but on her personal cellphone.
"'And they gave me the name of one of my clients, and said that client had given them my name,'" said Jeff. "I said 'Well, call your client,' she said 'I did. They were out of town.' Convenient."
It wasn't enough for Lindsay to back out of the deal, but according to her dad, she did want backup.
"She said 'I asked Jason, he's going to be there.' That put me at ease. Jason is 6'3", 240 pounds, ex-semipro hockey player -- an intimidating presence if he wants to be," said Jeff Buziak.
And with that plan in place, Lindsay started hunting for houses, finally settling on a brand new three-bedroom-three-bathroom in the town of Saanich.
"She had arranged a private showing for clients. That was set up for a Saturday afternoon at 5:30 in the evening," said Sgt. Horsley.
Staff Sergeant Chris Horsley takes us back to that house to discuss what police know about the night.
"Lindsay showed up and she met the client here on this private little street, we did have witnesses that viewed the interaction between the parties," said Horsley.
Those witnesses remember seeing Lindsay talking to a blonde woman wearing a distinctively colorful dress and a 6-foot-tall Caucasian man with dark hair. After that, the three went inside. And from there, police have what they believe to be a disturbingly accurate timeline of Lindsay Buziak's last minutes alive.
"The lockbox has computer access, we did get those records, it was unlocked just before 5:30. So 5:29 the lockbox is open," said Horsley. "We know that Lindsay showed the main floor of the home and then they went upstairs."
Upstairs to the master bedroom. Police say it was just nine to 11 minutes after entering the home. And how are they so sure?
"At 5:41 there is a dial-out on her phone. It goes to a friend she hasn't spoken to in some time, and all you can hear is muffling on the message," said Horsley.
It was a pocket-dial with deadly implications.
"When they went upstairs, there's a master bedroom and an en-suite bathroom," said Sgt. Horsley. "We know that when Lindsay turned to show the en-suite bathroom she was then attacked from the rear. There's no defensive wounds whatsoever. We don't believe she had any pre-indication that something was amiss."
And as for that pocket-dial?
"So we believe that was actually at the point of attack, when the couple attacked Lindsay, somehow it hit buttons on the BlackBerry and it sent out a phone call," said Horsley.
The last communication of any kind from Lindsay Buziak.
Police say real estate agent Lindsay Buziak was stabbed to death on Feb. 2, 2008 while showing a home to some new clients she never met before. Now they needed to determine just who the couple is that she was meeting with.
Lindsay Buziak was stabbed, according to media reports, more than 40 times in a surprise attack so lethally efficient, authorities say it had to be a hit. Her wallet, purse and cellphone were not taken, and she was not sexually assaulted.
At the time, police knew nothing of the couple they now believe carried out the attack, or how they were able to slip out of the house undetected. Only who they found when they arrived on the scene --Lindsay's boyfriend Jason Zailo and one of his friends.
"We locked down the house immediately. Mr. Zailo and his friend were both taken into police custody," said Saanich Police Sgt. Horsley.
Turns out, it was Zailo who called police to the house. And at the station, he gives investigators a breakdown of his whereabouts that day. Zailo and Lindsay finished a late lunch at a local spot before splitting up. He was going to meet a friend at a nearby business and she was getting ready for that open house.
An hour later, surveillance video shows Zailo and his friend leaving their location just as it's believed Lindsay is opening the door for her suspected killers.
Around that same time, Zailo texts her: "I'll come meet you and I'll be 10 - 15 minutes or so." Lindsay responds: "Okay, I'll see you in a bit, I gotta go." Her texts showed no signs of trouble.
"She told Jason 'They're here,'" said Horsley. "But at no time did she say anything that would be cause for warning -- 'I'm worried,' 'I'm scared,' 'These people creep me out.'"
At 5:38, Jason Zailo texts "just a couple of minutes away." That text was never opened.
Only three minutes later, a pocket-dial went from Lindsay's phone. Police believe that happened during the stabbing.
"We're quite confident that at 5:41 is when the attack took place," said Sgt. Horsley.
Jason Zailo tells police he drives up to the house just four minutes later at 5:45, and then he tells them that he may have actually seen the murderers: a tall Caucasian man, and a blonde woman wearing a colorful dress.
"The killers were actually about to walk out the front door and leave, and he turned into the cul-de-sac and interrupted them leaving," said Sgt. Horsley. "If he had been five seconds later he would have driven right into the suspects walking out here into the driveway."
Instead, he tells police the couple turned around and closed the door.
"And his assumption is these are the clients and the showing is just starting as the door closes," said Horsley. "He then parks outside because he is waiting for the showing to end."
Approximately 20 minutes later Zailo texts Lindsay: "Are you okay?" No answer.
"They then go and try the door because they're becoming concerned," said Sgt. Horsley. "And it's at the moment that they realize the front door to the home is locked that he becomes alarmed."
At 6:05 p.m., Jason Zailo calls police to express his concern.
"Between the police arrival and that first 911 call Jason and his friend noticed a rear French door is ajar on the home," said Horsley.
Then, as seen in police video recorded at the crime scene shortly after the murder, Zailo tells investigators how his friend entered through the back and let him in through the front.
"The second he unlocked it I pushed it open. Uh, he was already in front of me, and I said 'I'm running upstairs,' and I was yelling 'Lindsay, Lindsay, Lindsay," Zailo says in the video.
From there, Zailo says he ran straight to the master bedroom, where he found Lindsay's body, and called police again at 6:11 p.m.
"So I was running inside the house, uh, I just came running up the stairs," Zailo says in the video.
Police say the evidence supports Jason Zailo's version of events. But Lindsay's father says he's got some questions.
"There's certain things I don't buy there," said Jeff Buziak. "For me personally, one, I would have gone and checked as soon as I saw somebody dart in and out of the front door. That concerns me.
"The other thing that's odd to me is supposedly Jason had never been in the house," said Jeff. "Why would he push the front door open, run up the stairwell right into the master bedroom without stopping?"
And that's not all he's saying. Lindsay's dad, who was living more than 600 miles away in Calgary at the time, also says his daughter confided in him, saying her relationship with Jason Zailo was far from perfect.
"She just felt Jason was overbearing and demanding, and you know, jealous, possessive," said Jeff Buziak. "She came out to Calgary to speak to me about that."
And that was just six weeks before she was killed.
Crime Watch Daily reached out to Jason Zailo for an interview. He declined, but he did talk to police.
"Mr. Zailo and his friend were under intense police scrutiny. However, Mr. Zailo was cooperative with police," said Sgt. Horsley. "He also partook in a polygraph exam, and he passed.
"Based on forensic evidence, timeline of communications, witness testimony, video surveillance, we know he's not the killer," said Sgt. Horsley. "Was he perhaps somehow involved in the planning? Well he successfully passed a polygraph and he successfully took part in all these interviews with us. So at this point in time he's not considered a suspect."
So then who is? The one thing both Lindsay's father and police definitely agree on is that this was no random killing.
"It certainly has the hallmarks of being pre-planned and pre-orchestrated, without a doubt," said Horsley.
And executed, police believe, by those two pretend house-hunters who called Lindsay on her personal phone to set the whole thing up.
"Lindsay actually wrote down the number," said Sgt. Horsley.
Unfortunately the number is attached to a "burner" phone, purchased with cash nearly three months before and registered under a fake name.
"The phone was only ever used for one thing and that was to phone Lindsay Buziak," said Horsley. "It's a level of planning that clearly shows Lindsay Buziak was the target. The issue is Was she really the target or was she a scapegoat of convenience?"
According to one theory, the answer to that may be tied to somewhere Lindsay went the December before her February murder.
"In January before her murder, the largest drug bust in Alberta history occurred," said Sgt. Horsley. "We're talking millions upon millions of dollars' value in cocaine. The people that lost the drugs know that someone spoke to the police."
Police in Greater Victoria, British Columbia have interviewed hundreds of people, followed up on nearly a thousand leads, but who carried out the savage stabbing death of Lindsay Buziak remains a mystery.
In the immediate aftermath of the murder, police focused their efforts on identifying the couple that set up the open house where Lindsay was killed.
"We do know from the forensic evidence that both the man and female did go through the home," said Sgt. Horsley. "We do have evidence of them leaving the home, however we don't have anything in the form of DNA or fingerprints which would lead to a suspect identification."
In fact, almost all they have in the way of identification comes from an eyewitness who described a tall Caucasian man, and a woman with shoulder-length blonde hair, and a uniquely colored dress.
"We think we may have even found the exact brand of dress," said Horsley. "It wasn't a designer high-end name brand, unfortunately, it was something that could commonly be bought in the department store. So unfortunately the dress lead didn't pan out for us."
One of the things making it so hard to find the couple, or any suspects at all, is the fact that no one can definitely say why anyone would want Lindsay dead in the first place.
"She does not personally appear to have any enemies, so what is the motive for the killing?" said Horsley.
Police do have some strong theories though. One of them tied to a trip Lindsay Buziak made to Calgary just six weeks before her murder.
"This was in December and the murder was in February," said Sgt. Horsley.
Apparently, while Lindsay was in Calgary, she reached out to an old acquaintance from Victoria, once by phone and another time through Facebook.
"We don't know the nature of the call. We don't know why she called him. We don't know she was on his Facebook site," said Sgt. Horsley.
What they do know is that the person she contacted was the family member of a man named Erickson Delalcazar, and that shortly after Lindsay went back to Victoria, Delalcazar, along with 13 other people, was caught in the biggest drug bust in the history of the province.
"What we can say is that people lost a lot of money and the people that lost the drugs know that someone spoke to the police," said Horsley. "A witch hunt occurred where people were being questioned, people were being pulled out of their beds in the middle of the night and asked 'Who have you spoken to?' because they know someone spoke to the police."
Someone like Lindsay?
"That's one of the working theories," said Horsley. "Lindsay Buziak was the target of this murder but it may have been a target of opportunity where they needed to solve a problem and she was the solution."
But then why would Lindsay Buziak be so well-known to people in the drug trade to begin with?
"Victoria, everybody knows everybody. It's that simple," said Horsley.
"If you really ask the police, this is a complicated murder," said Jeff Buziak. "It has many twists and turns, there are killers and there are conspirators. The killers were the mechanics in her murder. They [didn't] necessarily know her. "
Who does Buziak really think hired those "mechanics?" He's not saying outright, but on his website, LindsayBuziakMurder.com, he and others regularly share their theories, often calling out individuals by name and demanding they step forward.
"I get threatened probably weekly with lawsuits, but I haven't seen one yet," said Buziak. His efforts do often put him at odds with authorities.
"Really, what it's become is a modern-day witch hunt, and it's just an internet witch hunt," said Sgt. Horsley. "So it's an ongoing issue and whether it affects the potential trial down the road, I don't know. I've had those discussions with Mr. Buziak because it is potential that it could impact our successful prosecution."
But Jeff Buziak and his family vow to keep up the fight.
"I believe the people who made the decision to kill her are cowards, and cowards need to be caught," said Buziak. "These people have to know that they're not going to get away with murdering Lindsay Buziak."
"This is a solvable case and we are confident that Lindsay's murder can be solved," said Sgt. Horsley.
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