|Edmonton cops investigate the suspicious death of a 16-year-old female at a home on 125 St., Monday, July 2, 2012. (Perry Mah/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON — The random killing of a 16-year-old girl stabbed in the neck during a home break-in on Monday is a "senseless act of violence," says an Edmonton cop.
Staff Sgt. Bill Clark of the Edmonton police homicide unit said the girl was in the city with her father and spent Sunday night at her aunt's north side home.
Some time around 4:45 a.m. Monday, an intruder broke into the home and slipped into the girl's room while she slept.
She was awakened by the unknown intruder who then stabbed her in the neck before fleeing the scene, said Clark.
Four people were in the home at the time, including her sleeping father, who came to her aid once he realized what was happening. He tried to give his daughter first aid and called 911, said Clark, but she later died in hospital.
A 16-year-old boy, who can not be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, has now been charged with second-degree murder, break and enter to commit robbery, and possession of an offensive weapon (a knife).
"Our victim and suspect are absolutely not known to each other. The victim is simply a very decent 16-year-old girl who was visiting family members with her father from out of town," said Clark, noting some personal items were swiped from the girls' room by the attacker.
"This is a tragic case. It's simply sad. The family is obviously extremely devastated by the loss of both a daughter and a sibling. It's a senseless act of violence here that obviously didn't need to happen."
Police have yet to release the girl's name, but friends and family say she is from the East Prairie Metis Settlement and attended high school in High Prairie, Alta.
She can't be named under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Those that knew the teen shared their grief on a Facebook page, posting humorous text message conversations and photos of the girl in traditional dance wear at pow wows.
"It's so sad when we lose a young relative who had a promising future," wrote one man on the memorial page.
"You always were smiling and happy. You helped people as they were needed. You were the last person anyone expected this to happen to," wrote another friend. "Such a positive outgoing girl that we lost."
In an interview with QMI, the girl's great aunt, Margaret Desjarlis, said the teen was in Grade 11. She was looking forward to her final year in high school, especially after attending her sister's grad a few weeks ago in Onoway, Alta.
Desjarlis said the girl and her father went to Edmonton last Friday to pick up one of his younger daughters to visit for the summer. They went to Ponoka, Alta., for the rodeo and on their way home on Sunday, they decided to stop in at the Alexander Pow Wow and spend the evening in Edmonton before heading back to High Prairie Monday morning.
The teen and her father were very close, said Desjarlis, noting the whole family is shaken by her untimely death.
"He's (the father) still in shock. They were like two peas in a pod," said Desjarlis. "She was a good girl. She was well known. They were just at the wrong place at the wrong time."
Clark said firefighters responding to the scene spoke with the girl's father, who gave them a description of the suspect. When patrol members were on their way to the residence, they saw three people walking near the home.
One of those people matched the description of the suspect, who police believe had attended a party next door to the home where the girl was killed. Clark said the accused, who lives a fair distance from the area, is known to police. Alcohol is believed to be a factor.
Rob Baker lives a few doors down from the home where the teen was killed.
He let the neighbours next door use the firepit in his backyard for the third time this year, but he did not attend any of the festivities, nor hear anything unusual Monday morning.
Baker said the sudden loss of a life a few doors down is horrible, but he doesn't fear for his own safety.
"Things happen," he said. "There is nothing I can do about it."
The accused teen, who is slight with an over-grown Justin Bieber hairstyle, made a brief appearance in shackles in youth court on Tuesday.
As per usual with serious charges, the youth was told by the judge that he could potentially be sentenced as an adult, if convicted. A public defender reserved the teen's election and plea and the case was adjourned to July 19.
- with files from Tony Blais