Who Killed Canadian Realtor Lindsay Buziak?
Booming real estate agent Lindsay Buziak appeared to be on the verge of a lucrative sale when the Canadian agreed to meet a mystery couple on the evening of February 2, 2008 to show them a house worth almost a million dollars in an upscale suburb of Victoria known as Saanich.
The couple — who Lindsay had simply called “The Mexicans” on their Blackberry — had called Lindsay a few days earlier to say they hoped to buy a house near this move-in-ready town, according to “Dateline: Secrets Uncovered,” diffusion Wednesdays at 8/7c on Oxygen.
Notes scribbled in her diary reveal that the couple wanted a house with at least three beds and three bathrooms and a separate space for a housekeeper. There was something else too: they hoped to buy the property in just two days.
But there would be no million dollar sale. Instead, the bubbly 24-year-old was found stabbed dozens of times in the upstairs bedroom of a vacant $964,000 home, where she had agreed to meet the couple to begin their house search.
In the nearly 15 years since, this brutal crime remains unsolved, despite the relentless efforts of Lindsay’s grieving father, Jeff Buziak.
“I’m not going to let her down,” Jeff told “Dateline” correspondent Josh Mankiewicz. “The only way for me to stop finding out who killed her is to die myself and I’ll die trying, I guarantee that.”
Again this year, Jeff Buziak has hired a private research and investigation company to try to piece together the shocking murder, according to the Terrance Standard.
Jeff described Lindsay to “Dateline: Secrets Uncovered” as a “spectacular young woman” who could “befriend anyone”.
“You would like to be part of his life. You would like to be his friend. How could you think you would want him dead? He asked.
Many of the few clues to the last day of her life come from Lindsay’s boyfriend at the time, Jason Zailo.
Zailo, a mortgage broker with a real estate license, told police that on Saturday, February 2, 2008, he and Lindsay went to lunch at a local restaurant before going their separate ways.
As she drove to the Saanich home to meet interested buyers, he dropped off paperwork at a local auto detailing store before meeting her at the house.
Zailo is captured in surveillance footage getting into his SUV with a friend around 5:30 p.m. to drive to the property. At the same time, witnesses reported seeing Lindsay outside the house apparently meeting the couple who contacted her.
“The witnesses were quite firm in that it appeared to be a meeting, a handshake, so we are quite confident that the people who showed up were not known to Lindsay. Saanich Police Detective Sgt. Chris Horley said.
At 5:38 p.m., Zailo texted his girlfriend to tell her he was “only a few minutes away,” but she never opened the message. Three minutes later, Horsley said his Blackberry had made an outgoing call. Authorities believe it was a “pocket dial” created while Lindsay was being killed as her Blackberry was later discovered in her pocket.
Zailo drove to the property around 5:45 p.m., but opted to wait in the car after seeing what looked like “a few people in the main entrance” to the house. Believing his girlfriend might be talking with his new clients, he waited nearby but grew concerned when she never returned his text messages.
“When I texted him, ‘Are you okay?’ and I didn’t get a text message, that’s what really worried me,” he said.
His worries only grew when he approached the front door and realized it was locked. Zailo called 911 at 6:05 p.m. to report he couldn’t reach his girlfriend, then hoisted his friend over the fence into the backyard of the house. The friend entered through another door and let Zailo go upstairs.
He discovered Lindsay’s bloody body upstairs in the house.
“She was just lying on her back, you know, not moving,” Jason recalled. “Nothing. So, I went straight to her. Try to do CPR on her. I felt her skin. It was – she was already dead.
Then-Inspector Rob McColl, who led the investigation, said the murder had “shocked” the quiet community, which typically has just one homicide a year.
Investigators believe the mysterious couple who had arranged to meet Lindsay at home may be responsible for her death and may even have been hit men, but tracking them down hasn’t been easy.
Witnesses in the neighborhood described the potential buyer as a white woman between 35 and 40 with short blonde hair and a distinctive black and white dress with red or pink on it. The man was described as a well-dressed Caucasian male, approximately 6ft 0in with dark hair, possibly brown.
Lindsay told her father, Jeff, that the couple spoke English with an accent, but there was something unusual about it, describing it as “a little Spanish but not really”. That’s probably why Lindsay called the couple “The Mexicans.”
Police were able to determine that the couple had called Lindsay using a cell phone purchased at a convenience store in Vancouver between three and six weeks before the murder. But the phone, which had been registered under a false name, had only been activated less than 48 hours before the attack.
Investigators also found no signs of theft or sexual assault, suggesting the 24-year-old had been targeted by someone.
There were also few forensic clues left since the vacant house had been cleared just before the screening.
With little to do, investigators turned to the men in Lindsay’s life.
Jeff told “Dateline: Secrets Uncovered” that Lindsay thought about breaking up with Zailo and confessed during a tearful visit to his home about six weeks before her death that she made “a mistake.”
But Zailo insisted they had been happy and maintained he had nothing to do with his girlfriend’s death.
“I love Lindsay. I think of her every day. I want this matter resolved as quickly as possible,” he said. “I had nothing to do with it.”
Police publicly cleared Zailo about a year after his death after finding nothing to link him to the crime.
Investigators also looked into her ex-boyfriend Matt MacDuff, whom she dated from 2001 to 2006. Friends described him as her “Mr. Big” in a tribute to Carrie Bradshaw’s fictional relationship in the “Sex in the City” series.
MacDuff told ‘Dateline: Secrets Uncovered’ he had nothing to do with the murder and authorities said the couple had not spoken in months at the time of his death. Police also found there was no evidence to link him to the crime.
With that avenue exhausted, police also considered other theories, including the idea that Lindsay had accidentally seen or heard something that was life-threatening. While investigators don’t believe Lindsay was involved in anything illegal, they said “there was an element of people she was associated with who were involved in the crime.”
However, to date, the police investigation has found no concrete evidence to support this theory.
More than a decade later, his killer has never been identified and the case remains unsolved.
Earlier this year, Jeff told the victoria buzz that he had spent thousands of dollars “pursuing justice” for his daughter, including a $500,000 reward he had once promised for information about the case.
“Solving this case means bringing justice to Lindsay, to everyone who loved her and to abused women everywhere,” he said.