WATCH: It was a murder that shook the city of Surrey to its core and today, nearly five months after Julie Paskall was killed, there has been an arrest. John Daly broke the story and has exclusive details for Global News.
Investigators have arrested a male in connection to the murder of Julie Paskall, the mother of three who was brutally beaten five months ago outside the Newton Recreation Centre, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has confirmed.
Two well-placed sources told Global News that IHIT made an arrest earlier Friday and that they have been following the suspect around the Lower Mainland for weeks. The suspect is said to have a serious police record.
Paskall’s husband, Al, was called to IHIT this afternoon and initially told Global News that he was unaware of any arrest. But tonight he said, he was elated about the arrest.
“Obviously that I just have in the back of my mind thinking when we get him convicted and we know it’s him… then it’ll be settled for me. But until then… it doesn’t bring my wife back, doesn’t help my family any. But it hopefully gets him off the streets so he doesn’t hurt anybody else — that was the main thing.”
WATCH: Al Paskall tells Global News how he and his family are feeling after the arrest
IHIT has since said their intention was to tell all of Paskall’s children before the arrest was made.
No charges have currently been laid and it is unknown where the suspect was arrested. Thousands of work hours have been put into the investigation by Surrey RCMP and IHIT and they will continue to work the case.
IHIT will be holding a press conference Saturday at 2 p.m. to give updates on the arrest.
Fifty-three-year-old Paskall was picking up her son from hockey on Dec. 29 when she was attacked in the parking lot in a seemingly random robbery attempt.
Her injuries were so severe IHIT was called in immediately. Paskall died in hospital two days later on New Year’s Eve.
WATCH: Longtime volunteer and hockey mom Julie Paskall dies from injuries
Despite receiving dozens of tips, officers went months without making an arrest. Officials have not yet released any information on the suspect or any charges.
At several community vigils, Paskall’s 16-year-old son, two adult daughters and husband begged for answers, pleading for the attacker to come forward.
One of her daughters, Rhiannon, told Global News in January that her mother was everything to her.
“My mom was my hero, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her,” she says. “She taught me to walk, multiple times, she taught me to talk, she taught me everything. She was so amazing, I phoned her every day to tell her everything.”
Al, who was married to Julie for 34 years, said their family has been torn apart.
“They have no idea what they’ve done,” he says. “They have no idea who they’ve taken from us. They’ve taken this family and cut its heart out. That’s what they’ve done.”
The arrest comes on the same day as a benefit concert to remember her at The Wise Hall in Vancouver.
A trust fund has been set up to help the family if anyone would like to make a donation.
WATCH: Hockey parents come together for Paskall family
The brutal violence shocked the community and prompted some residents of Surrey to demand the city and the police do more to keep them safe.
Since the attack, the city has removed some of the nearby bushes and put brighter lights outside the recreation centre. Other improvements include windows installed in the centre’s doors to give people and staff a direct line of sight to the parking lot, and in case of trouble, there’s an emergency phone inside.
With files from John Daly