File Number: 104200122
Kelowna, British Columbia - It's been 26 years since Mindy Tran rode her bike down a quiet Kelowna road and became the victim of one of this city's most infamous and ultimately unsolved crimes.
The eight-year-old had gone out to play just after dinner, Aug. 17, 1994. When she didn't return, a search was called and hundreds of area residents fanned out across the neighbourhood to find who was described by many as a studious and friendly child, according to Capital News archives.
Her body, which showed evidence of strangulation and sexual violation, was ultimately found six weeks later, Oct. 11, 1994, when a man with a divining rod led police to a shallow grave in Mission Creek Regional park.
Last year 2019, 25 years later, a small group of mourners met at the Mindy Tran Memorial, a tree with a sign next to it featuring her school photo and a dedication to the memory of the little girl.
The dedication reads, "See this tree that will grow instead of Mindy."
Roses were laid, kisses were blown and a prayer was said in Tran's memory.
"I want to remember the little girl. I want her to rest in peace," said Shui Lee, a friend of Tran family who helped search for Mindy.
Lee spoke on behalf of her parents who did not attend the ceremony because it was "too painful." However, Lee said that the couple is still grateful for the support of the community in the search for their daughter.
"Every night they are still so angry," said Lee.
For Sandi Giddings, her son lost a best friend all those years ago.
"There's not a day that goes by that we don't think of her," said Giddings, who also helped search for Tran.
Tran's memorial and her tree sits at the Springfield/ Ziprick Road parking lot, close to where she was found.
Shannon Murrin, a neighbour, was charged with her murder, but was acquitted and returned to Newfoundland, joined by one of his jurors, Kathy MacDonald, who later admitted they had fallen in love during the trial.
Since Murrin's acquittal, the murder remains unsolved.
What happened? Who is responsible? What do you think?