Two parallel investigations are underway involving two RCMP agencies looking at potential links after one man was stabbed to death and another was seriously injured in the South Surrey-White Rock area.

Surrey RCMP found Delphin Paul “Pauly” Prestbakmo stabbed to death in the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre early Friday morning in what IHIT is calling an unprovoked attack. They just learned from White Rock RCMP that a man in his 60s who was last seen uninjured metres from the crime scene just a few hours earlier, was later found seriously injured by his family at his nearby home. Mounties say his injuries have kept the senior from speaking with them and they’re now working to determine if he was assaulted and whether it was the same people or person responsible for killing Prestbakmo.

“The people that were responsible knew Pauly [Prestbakmo] to some degree,” said IHIT spokesperson Const. Frank Jang. “Having said that we think this was still an unprovoked attack. We have no reason to believe Pauly went out looking for a fight.”

Homicide investigators believe Prestbakmo had left his home for a smoke and to take out some garbage when he was attacked. They just became aware of the attack on the senior, who was last seen just before midnight at a Coast Capital Savings bank around the corner from where Prestbakmo’s body was found; White Rock RCMP are the lead agency on that investigation, working closely with IHIT to see if they’re connected. They say it’s possible the senior was assaulted but he could’ve also been hit by a car or badly hurt in some other way, but the investigation is difficult as long as the man is unable to speak with them.

Prestbakmo, a 45 year-old mechanic, lived near the mall and was a familiar face in the neighbourhood. He had no history with police. His sister, Angela Prestbakmo, made an emotional appeal for witnesses on behalf of the family.

“This tragedy has forever changed our lives and our family and friends for years to come,” she told reporters, reading from a prepared statement and flanked by friends. “We will never be able to hear his infectious, rolly belly laugh, his contagious smile that would light up a room and his outrageous sense of humour and his love of life.”

Jang says a man arrested near the mall the night of the attacks has since been released. He stressed that the family and the house where the man was found have no connection to the homicide, but wouldn’t give any details about the suspect except to say he hasn’t been charged as investigators put together an evidence package to forward to Crown prosecutors, who would determine whether or not charges are warranted.

“We’re looking for witnesses,” he said. “It’s possible there may be more than that one person arrested involved in this.”

White Rock RCMP say they have increased patrols in the area around Semiahmoo Mall as their investigators and IHIT members do their work, which already involves surveillance video and witness accounts. They’re looking for more people in the know to come forward, as are Prestbakmo’s loved ones.

“When things were not going well or working out he would say ‘hey, let’s do the right thing,’” said Prestbakmo’s sister, urging anyone with information to contact investigators.

“So on behalf of our family and friends speaking out for Paulie one last time: hey, let’s make it right and do the right thing.”