Stranger Than Fiction: The Unsolved Murder of Lindsey Buziak

Lindsay Buziak — Source: Victoria News

As I’ve said countless times on this blog, safety is an illusion.

Even those of us who get strong gut feelings about certain people and situations struggle to follow those feelings and make decisions based on them. Gut feelings are usually right, but we worry that in following them, we are being judgemental or plain old silly.

Even when we’re surrounded by red flags, we don’t always want to believe the worst.

On February 2, 2008, 24-year-old Lindsay Buziak, a ReMax Camosun Realtor from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, was murdered on the job. When she was asked to show the house she was killed in, the job seemed too good to be true. Something was sketchy about the whole thing.

But if Lindsay sold the house, she would earn a massive commission, earn some prestige, and advance her career.

Some risks are worth taking. And the odds of being in danger were so slim, it didn’t seem to make sense to turn it down.

Who arranged for Lindsay Buzak to show that house on that particular day, and why were they determined to make it the last showing of her life?

A Dream Job

Lindsay Buziak — Source: Victoria News

If you’re a good realtor, you can earn an impressive living. Often, all it takes to line your pockets and move up in the realty world is one big sale. Lindsay Buziak thought her moment had arrived.

On January 31, 2008, Lindsay’s phone rang. On the other line was the voice of a woman with a heavy foreign accent. [1] That in itself was not strange, but Lindsay couldn’t help but think the accent sounded fake. [2]

Equally strange was the fact that Lindsay had received the call on her personal cellphone, rather than her work line at the office. [1] The woman on the other end of the line explained that she had been given Lindsay’s number by one of Lindsay’s other clients.

Skeptical, Lindsay phoned the other client, but she could not confirm the caller’s story because the client was out of town.

The whole thing was odd, but when she found out that the house she would be showing was listed at $964,000, she felt it would be foolish to pass up such an opportunity. [2]

Still, Lindsay was uncomfortable enough that she asked her boyfriend, Jason Zailo, to meet her at the house in case there were any problems. [1] In fact, Jason offered several times to do the showing for her, but her suspicions weren’t strong enough to hand the reigns over to her boyfriend. [3]

Jason Zailo — Source: Lindsay Buziak Murder

On February 2, Lindsay and Jason met around 4:30 for a late lunch. [1] They went their separate ways after the meal.

After lunch, Jason picked up his friend Cohen Oatman and the two played in a scrub hockey game. Later, they stopped at an auto business. Surveillance cameras captured the two arriving and leaving. Then, the men left to meet Lindsay at the house on De Sousa Place.

Cohen Oatman — Source: Vancouver Island Murders

De Sousa Place is a small cul de sac with only four houses, all of them vacant. It was the perfect place to commit a violent crime.

The house that Lindsay was to show was a three-bedroom, three-bathroom house that had stood empty on the market for more than a year. The “client” that contacted Lindsay specifically stated that her family was looking for a new, empty home that was move-in ready.

The house on De Sousa Place where Lindsay was murdered — Source: Lindsay Buziak Murder

Just before 5:30 p.m., Lindsay pulled into the driveway, gathered her paperwork to go over the details of the house, and entered the home. It was 5:29 when Lindsay retrieved the realtor’s key from the lockbox outside the door.

However, the street was not without witnesses, as the killer or killers had likely hoped. Two neighbors spotted a man and a woman walk towards the house. (Not sure where the neighbors came from since everything I’ve read said the cul de sac was empty.) Lindsay and the couple introduced themselves and went into the house.

The man was described as being approximately six feet tall with dark hair, while the woman, a blonde, was clad in a distinctive patterned dress. The couple appeared to be between the ages of 35 and 45 years old. [4]

Unfortunately, the dress was not a unique designer brand and was sold at numerous stores, so it was impossible to nail down where it came from.

A police reenactment of Lindsay meeting her killers — Source: Capital Daily
The patterned dress that was worn by the woman who met Lindsay at the house on De Sousa Place — Source: Crime Junkie Podcast

At this point, Jason texted Lindsay to let her know he would be there within 10–15 minutes. [1] She replied and told him that the couple had arrived.

At 5:38 p.m., Jason texted Lindsay again to tell her he was only a couple of minutes away, but Lindsay never got the chance to read his text. [4]

A Cold Trail

Jason and Cohen pulled up to the property at 5:40 and witnessed a man and woman exit the house. As soon as they saw Jason and Cohen, the couple turned and went back into the house. The men waited in the car for about 20 minutes before Jason texted Lindsay. He received no response.

Jason then tried to enter the house, but the front door was locked. This is a big no-no among realtors and, being a realtor himself, this concerned Jason deeply. Peering through the windows, Jason could see Lindsay’s shoes, and his concern turned into panic.

A crime scene photo showing Lindsay’s shoes — Source: The Province

Cohen was able to get into the house through a back door while Jason dialed 911. Cohen opened the front door to let Jason inside so Jason ended the 911 call. Seeing no sign of Lindsay, Jason raced up the stairs where he found Lindsay dead in a pool of blood. He immediately dialed 911 again.

Lindsay had been stabbed more than 40 times. Investigators found no defensive wounds, which led them to believe she must have been ambushed when she had her back turned to her killer(s). There were no signs of sexual assault and none of her personal belongings had been taken.

This was a very personal crime.

Lindsay’s attackers had been careful not to leave behind any fingerprints or usable DNA at the scene. This seemed to suggest that Lindsay was murdered by a “professional” killer who had enough experience to know how to do the deed without leaving investigators so much as a bread crumb of evidence to work with.

A call had been placed from Lindsay’s Blackberry to an acquaintance but all that could be heard was a muffled sound. The police believe the call was accidentally placed during the attack. [1]

With no physical footprints to trace, the first order of business for investigators was tracking the cellphone used by the woman to call Lindsay to set up a showing. [4]

The phone was a pre-paid cellphone hat had been purchased in late November 2007 and activated in late January 2008 in Vancouver. [5] Whoever used the phone had only brought it into the Vancouver area 24 hours before Lindsay’s murder.

The calls themselves were made from Vancouver, hits from cell towers in the area show. At least half a dozen calls were made to Lindsay before her death, but the phone was never used again after she was murdered.

Investigators concluded that somebody close to Lindsay planned the killing and hired someone to carry it out.

Inspector Rob McCall said on the third anniversary of Lindsay’s death:

“Having had this on our plate (at the time of the broadcast) for more than two years, we had plenty of time to develop theories, look at them closely, and think outside the box.”

Following Lindsay’s murder, an anonymous call was placed to 911 asking authorities to check on the home Lindsay was showing. [6] But just days after the killing, the police revealed that a second 911 call had come from inside the house, as well.

The person who made the second 911 call indicated that a person inside the house might be dead.

Theories

Who would want a young, beautiful, budding professional dead so badly that they’d extensively plan a murder and hire a pro to do the dirty work?

Jason Zailo

Whenever a woman is murdered, the first person the police look at as a possible suspect is a husband or boyfriend. And since Lindsay’s boyfriend, Jason Zailo, may have been present when Lindsay was killed (he was definitely present in the immediate aftermath), all eyes immediately focused on him as the potential killer.

Lindsay and Jason had been dating for about a year and lived together, and while the relationship appeared to be a happy one from the outside, Lindsay was reportedly trying to decide if there was a future for her and Jason. [1]

Lindsay Buziak and Jason Zailo — Source: True Crime Daily

Jason, it seems, could be quite controlling and possessive, and this rubbed Lindsay, a highly independent person, the wrong way. His need to dominate her life ran counterintuitive to her ambitious nature.

Jason and Cohen were taken into custody following the discovery of Lindsay’s body but were soon released after timestamped surveillance footage confirmed their version of events. [7]

Jason agreed to take a lie detector test and passed. [1] The police removed him from the suspect list.

Saanich Police Sgt. Chris Horsley said: [8]

“Based on forensic evidence, timeline of communications, witness testimony, surveillance footage, we know he’s not the killer. Was he perhaps somehow involved in the planning? Well, he successfully passed a polygraph test and he successfully took part in all these interviews with us. So at this point in time he’s not considered a suspect.”

The Woman Who Knew Too Much?

During an interview, Jason told the police he might have some insight into what led to his girlfriend’s murder, though he wasn’t involved in the killing. [1] He said that on December 14, 2007, Lindsay visited him in Calgary and told him she “saw something bad.” He believed she was referring to something that occurred in Victoria.

It’s worth noting that Linday also told her father she had seen something she shouldn’t have at the end of 2006. [9]

Through a bit of digging, the police discovered that Lindsay had contacted an old friend over both phone and Facebook over the period when Jason was in Calgary. [1] The friend was a relative of a man named Erickson Lopez Delalcazar. However, they could not determine why she contacted him.

Erickson Lopez Delalcazar — Source: Gangsters Out Blog

But what happened to Erickson just days before Lindsay’s murder could shed light on what happened to Lindsay and why. Erickson, as it turned out, was charged in the largest cocaine trafficking ring case in Alberta history. It was shortly after Lindsay left Calgary and returned to Victoria that Erickson and his cocaine trafficking ring got busted.

Lindsay was not known to be involved in drugs, but had she seen something that might have made her a danger to Erickson and his drug trafficking ring? Did they feel the need to eliminate her as a witness? Could the murder have been a revenge hit?

Millions of dollars worth of cocaine were discovered and seized during the bust, and a lot of people lost money. Might Erickson and his associates have believed that Lindsay was the person who tipped off the police?

The police also dug into Lindsay’s past dating history to see if an ex-boyfriend might have had a long-standing beef with her. They came across the name of Matt MacDuff. Investigators did not suspect him of the killing but knew that when Matt and Lindsay lived together, their phones were tapped because of Matt’s association with Jasmohan “Jas” Sing Bains, a man involved in the trafficking and sale of illegal narcotics.

Matt MacDuff (third from left) — Source: Lindsay Buziak Murder

In fact, Jas headed up a Victoria-based criminal organization involved in shipping kilograms of cocaine to the Toronto area. [9] Jas had earned himself a reputation for being the kingpin of organized crime on the West Coast of Canada.

Jas trafficked illegal narcotics in British Columbia and Alberta. Through tapping Lindsay and Jason’s phones, the police learned the information that led to the British Columbia Legislature Raids in 2003.

Despite Lindsay’s connections to drug traffickers, there was no evidence to suggest that Lindsay herself ever used or sold drugs.

According to True Crime Daily, the theory that the drug bust in Victoria had something to do with Lindsay is one the police are taking seriously. [8]

Sgt. Horsley said:

“What we can say is that people lost a lot of money and the people that lost the drugs know that someone spoke to the police. A witch hunt occurred where people were being questioned, people were being pulled out of their beds in the middle of the night and asked, ‘Who have you spoken to?’ because they know someone spoke to the police.

That’s one of the working theories. Lindsay Buziak was the target of this murder but it may have been a target of opportunity where they needed to solve a problem and she was the solution.”

When asked why Lindsay would have been associated with people in the drug trade when she herself was not involved, Sgt. Horsley replied:

“Victoria, everybody knows everybody. It’s that simple.”

Jeff Buziak added:

“If you really ask the police, this is a complicated murder. It has many twists and turns, there are killers and there are conspirators. The killers were the mechanics in her murder. They [didn’t] necessarily know her.”

Lindsay’s father Jeff Buziak — Source: National Post

A Confession?

After Lindsay’s murder, her father, Jeff Buziak, launched a website designed to aid in catching his daughter’s killer(s). On August 6, 2017, somebody publicly posted the following comment to the site: [10]

“I killed Lindsey and stupid cops will never prove it so you all got nothin’.”

Source: CHEK News

Whoever wrote the comment is obviously a deeply disturbed person, but was the comment written by an associate of Lindsay’s, or was it just a demented joke?

According to the National Post, a list of local people included in the since-removed message who have been linked to Buziak suggests the author is at least familiar with the case.

The comment continues:

“No one gives a shit anymore anyhow except her crybaby dad. Even her fakey girlfriends have washed it away. Typical loser chicks. Sanich cops dropped it cause they can’t solve shit and were told to drop it. Cut the phoney investigation. It’s done. Go home losers. Forget about her. The street always rules. Bitches die every day.”

Well, the commenter, who couldn’t spell his way out of a paper bag, is clearly wrong that no one “gives a shit” anymore, otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this, and you wouldn’t be reading it.

Jeff Buziak said of the insane message:

“I read it. I went through my various gyrations and then I copied and pasted it and sent it to the police.

I’m not here to debate whether the post is real or from a bad guy or not — you’ve got a lead, go investigate it and let the police determine it, not the armchair quarterbacks.

It’s either from the guy who’s really kind of kooking out a bit and taunting; or it’s from some crackhead; or it’s someone just fucking around. But I don’t care — I ask the police to get to the bottom of it.”

New Developments

In October 2020, documents related to the Lindsay Buziak case were unsealed, revealing new information to the public for the first time. Let’s take a look at some of the more important items of interest that were brought to light. [3]

  • The mysterious phone call
    As I previously mentioned, when Lindsay received the first phone call about showing the house, Lindsay asked the woman how she found her and how she got her personal cellphone number. The woman would only tell her that she had been “referred” to Lindsay. But when Lindsay called around to find out which of her colleagues had referred her, no one knew anything about it. In the documents, there was no mention of the “referral client” who Lindsay supposedly tried to contact but she was on vacation.
  • Planning an escape
    When Lindsay recommended the home on De Sousa Place during a 10-minute call with the unknown caller, the caller may have used MapQuest for the purpose of “familiarizing themselves with the area” and “planning escape routes.” At 7:15 p.m. on the same day, February 1, Jason’s mother, Shirley Zailo, showed up at the condo shared by Lindsay and her son. The documents do not state why Shirley visited the couple, but she reportedly overheard a 15-minute phone conversation between Lindsay and the client.
  • Strange online activity
    The Saanich Police uncovered an odd pattern in Lindsay’s online activity in the days leading up to her murder. They discovered missing chat messages and were unable to determine when the files had been deleted. At the time of Lindsay’s death, Facebook was still very new, but Lindsay had an account. The police found that from January 24, 2008, to February 3, 2008, “there were no messages from any of Buziak’s 700 friends.” Investigators said they found the lack of activity “very odd” but don’t know what, or if, it has anything to do with the case.
  • Shady characters
    Upon examining Lindsay’s Facebook friends list, investigators quickly spotted the names of people who were “violent criminals and involved in the illegal distribution of drugs.” Those names are heavily redacted in the report, but the Saanich Police at first believed that Buziak’s association with them “may have played a role” in her murder.
  • Uncomfortable until the very end
    On the day Lindsay was killed, she stopped at ReMax’s Chatterton Way office, where she worked. The receptionist told the police that even though Lindsay was to show the house on De Sousa Place that day, she was still feeling “really weird” and “freaked out” about the showing. So freaked out, in fact, that she gave the client’s phone number to the receptionist and another coworker to see if they could find a record with other agents in Victoria. They were unsuccessful.
  • The killers escaped on foot
    When Jason and Cohen arrived at the house, they saw Lindsay’s BMW in the parking lot, but they didn’t see any other cars on the street. This is consistent with the police’s statement that the couple that killed Lindsay fled on foot. After waiting for about 10 minutes, Jason discovered the front door was locked and proceeded to ring the doorbell “about ten times with no answer.”
  • More than one conspirator
    The phone that was used to arrange the showing with Buziak was determined to be a pre-paid phone registered to “Paulo Rodriguez,” a fake name. Cell tower information shows the area where the phone was purchased, and where the person or people who purchased it were “most likely from.” The police also determined there was a second pre-paid phone that was used to check the first phone’s voicemail, leading investigators to surmise that there were two conspirators. The Saanich Police were eventually able to figure out the owner of both phones, but the name is redacted in the report.

It’s evident that whoever killed Lindsay Buziak was afraid of something. It certainly wasn’t random. It appears that Lindsay’s death was the result of her seeing and/or knowing something she wasn’t supposed to…but it was something she was not directly involved in.

If you want to dig even deeper into the case, I recommend you visit the website of Lindsay’s father, LindsayBuziakMurder.com. It’s a bit difficult to follow, but the site delves deeper into potential suspects and motives.

There is no such thing as the perfect crime, but the conspirators in the Lindsay Buziak case have thus far done a damn good job of hiding their identities and their reasons for snuffing out the life of a beautiful young woman with a promising future.

Source: Victoria News

Sources:

  1. Chilling Crimes
  2. CBC News
  3. Capital Daily
  4. Investigation Discovery
  5. Lindsay Buziak Murder
  6. CBC News
  7. Real Info
  8. True Crime Daily
  9. Lindsay Buziak Murder
  10. National Post

My name is Julie Fidler. I’m a writer, author, wife, and animal lover. I shed light on unsolved mysteries and shocking crimes.

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