Friend reflects on Batalia's relationship with ex-boyfriend
CTV British Columbia
Published Sunday, December 2, 2012 4:24PM PST
Last Updated Monday, December 3, 2012 10:20AM PST
They were best friends who shared the same birthday, and would get ready together every year for celebrations. Both aspired to be models, and wanted to chase that dream together.
But the dream of making it together in the modeling world was shattered for Michelle Cyr when 19-year-old Maple Batalia was gunned down at a Surrey campus parking lot last year.
And now, just over a year later, two men have been arrested and charged this weekend with Batalia’s murder. But Cyr, 22, says the news felt very bittersweet.
“It was kind of a relief to hear there was progress being made, that two arrests were made,” she said. “On the other hand, too, it’s kind of news that you don’t want to hear because it just reminds you that she’s gone.”
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team announced Saturday that 20-year-old Gurjinder Dhaliwal, known as Gary, has been charged with first-degree murder. His 22-year-old associate Gursimar Bedi has been charged with manslaughter using a firearm and accessory after the fact.
Cyr says Dhaliwal was Batalia’s ex-boyfriend, and her first boyfriend. While she didn’t know him well, Cyr says Dhaliwal appeared to be a quiet, shy and nice guy.
However, Cyr says there were signs that all was not well with Batalia and Dhaliwal’s relationship.
“I’d even hear phone conversations when I would go over to (Maple’s) house,” she said. “I would hear on the phone a different side of him when he’s angry, yelling. Looking back now, I realize it was a lot more serious.”
Cyr says Batalia and Dhaliwal broke up eventually. Shortly after Batalia’s death, Dhaliwal was charged with assault for a separate incident that occurred at a Surrey Tim Hortons. According to Cyr, Dhaliwal allegedly confronted Batalia and a male friend at the coffee shop. The assault charges were later dropped
Cyr says Dhaliwal seemed like a jealous person, and she believes neither she nor Batalia knew how to read the signs of an unhealthy relationship at the time.
“I guess as kids, and as the only relationship that you know, you can’t really know how severe it is because you can’t compare it with anything else,” she said.
Both Dhaliwal and Bedi will appear in Surrey provincial court on Monday.
With files from CTV British Columbia’s Julia Foy