A lengthy legal battle came to an end Friday for the family of a woman who was shot and killed in Mission more than a decade ago.
The parents of Lisa Dudley have been fighting to have her personal belongings returned to them since 2017, forced to navigate an often difficult and tangled legal web.
“I hope the people out there realize it’s not just cut and dry,” Dudley’s stepfather Mark Surakka said outside the Abbotsford courthouse, where a judge ruled all the items must be returned to the family.
Dudley was shot along with her boyfriend Guthrie McKay in their Mission home in 2008.
Guthrie died in the targeted shooting, but Dudley continued living for four days, paralyzed inside the house.
RCMP officers who responded to the 911 call made by a neighbour who heard gunshots didn’t get out of their vehicles to investigate.
When Dudley was discovered in the home, she was still alive and was taken to hospital, but died just hours after being found.
Four people were convicted in connection with the shooting. A coroner’s inquest was also held in 2018.
The jury at the inquest made several recommendations, including that police have a mandatory follow-up protocol for all reports of crimes that could have fatal consequences.
For Surakka and Dudley’s mother Rosemarie, being forced to go to court to get the personal belongings seized as part of the police investigation was part of an arduous and difficult process.
“I’m sure that most people have belongings of family members who have passed or are removed from the vicinity, and they hold remarkable importance to them,” Surakka said.
He said the items include a watch, phones and other personal items.
It’s unclear exactly when the family will get those belongings back, but Surakka expects it will take at least a month.
He hopes in the future the process for families will be streamlined.
“I hope that somewhere down the line people can examine this, people in authority can examine this and perhaps precipitate an easier road,” he said.
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