Slain teacher was dating man with the same name as accused killer: sources
Two weeks after the death of Burnaby, B.C. educational assistant Nicole Hasselmann, a 31-year-old man with the same name as her boyfriend has been arrested and charged.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said officers apprehended Jan Poepl on Thursday, and one count of second-degree murder has since been approved against him.
“IHIT detectives worked steadfastly to secure and compile the evidence for charge approval and today’s outcome would not have been possible without their tireless efforts,” Cpl. Frank Jang said in a statement.
“IHIT recognizes that this is a very difficult time for Nicole’s family as they are grieving her death and we hope that we were able to provide them with some answers.”
Authorities have not publicly shared any new details about the unusual circumstances of Hasselmann's death.
Sources told CTV News that she was in a relationship with a man by the same name as her accused killer for the past two years. In the past, her boyfriend had worked as a realtor in Burnaby.
First responders found her injured in a ditch near the site of an SUV crash on Nov. 16, and police initially said she appeared to have been ejected from the vehicle. She died later in hospital.
IHIT later determined her wounds were "indicative of foul play," but has not officially revealed the cause of death.
The vehicle, a 2017 Kia Sorrento, slammed into a lamppost near Barnet Highway and Texaco Drive around 10 p.m. A man was also found injured at the scene, but authorities said he was expected to make a full recovery.
He was discovered unresponsive in the SUV and had to be pulled out by first responders.
IHIT has not confirmed whether it was Poepl in the vehicle, only saying Hasselmann and her accused killer knew each other and that the case was an isolated incident.
Hasselmann lived in Burnaby but worked as a special education assistant for the Vancouver School District. Her friends and colleagues remembered her as a great mother and a good friend.
Anyone with information on the case who hasn't yet spoken with police is asked to call the IHIT information line at 1-877-551-4448. Those who want to remain anonymous can instead call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Poepl's trial date has not yet been set.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Emad Agahi