High risk sex offender charged in death of Surrey teen

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Authorities have announced the arrest of a Surrey man with a lengthy criminal history for the death of 17-year-old Serena Vermeersch.

43-year-old Raymond Lee Caissie has been charged with second-degree murder, according to the Surrey RCMP.

Initial information regarding a publication ban on the accused name had him unidentified in the media early Monday, however IHIT acknowledged he was permitted to be identified later.

Caissie has an extensive criminal past, according to CTV News:

In 1991, Caissie kidnapped and raped a 21-year-old woman who was working at Abbottsford’s Tretheway House museum. After forcing her to withdraw her daily limit from an ATM, he raped her again and left her in a field near the U.S. border, gagged and tied to a tree.

Caissie was sentenced to 22 years in prison, and was released in 2013, at which time the Surrey RCMP cautioned the public he was a “high-risk sexual and violent offender.” Vermeersch’s body was discovered last Tuesday in the Surrey Central Works Yard. Authorities determined soon after the teen had met with foul play.

The teen “was last seen September 15th getting on a bus at 64th Ave and 128th Street,” notes News 1130, adding: “Investigators are looking for anyone who might have seen a man was seen leaving the area in a grey/silver Dodge full-size 3/4-ton pickup with canopy and roof rack.”

The individual in the truck is still considered a person of interest, and the RCMP would like to speak with the driver. Caissie was arrested in Vancouver on Saturday. Vermeersch’s family provided a statement to the RCMP regarding the arrest:

“We’re currently receiving the support we need from friends and family in the face of Serena’s passing. We appreciate the concern and kind words we are receiving but we respectfully ask that our privacy remain undisturbed.”

“[Serena] was very much dedicated to her family, she kept in touch with her family on a regular basis,” said Integrated Homicide Investigation Team spokeswoman Staff-Sgt. Jennifer Pound last week. Today at a press conference to discuss Caissie’s arrest, Surrey RCMP Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy said:

“Nothing angers me more than seeing an innocent person become a victim of a violent, senseless crime. Serena should be at Sullivan Heights Secondary School, having a laugh with her classmates and perhaps thinking about her graduation. Sadly, that is not the case.”

Caissie is expected to appear in court on October 2.

 

Featured image: Handcuffs/Shutterstock

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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