Jessica Samms is pushing to see a 2007 mural memorializing murder victim Kyle Marud stay where it’s been for 12 years now, at the back of the old Safeway building. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Mural for Aldergrove murder victim remains as Freshco renovates

Kyle ‘Newbie’ Marud’s unsolved 2007 murder, still on the minds Aldergrove residents

As the former Aldergrove Safeway is in the midst of being renovated into a new Freshco store, one local worries about what will happen to the back of the building.

There’s a spot, by a community pathway that leads locals from Countryside Centre mall into Springfield Village, where 19-year-old Kyle Marud’s lifeless body was found on April 22, 2007.

It is also where a graffiti artist tagged a mural in his honour. In all the years the former Safeway remodeled since Marud’s death, it was never painted over, said Jessica Samms, a close friend of Marud.

“It’s the one place I can go and feel close to him. I visit at least once a week,” Samms said.

She described Marud as one of her first friends when she first moved from Surrey to Aldergrove in 2002.

“He was one of the nicest guys I ever met out here. I still can’t believe that he was killed like that. He was so skinny and would never be able to fight back.” Samms explained.

The RCMP Integrated Homicide Investigation Team’s investigation into the senseless killing of Marud (nicknamed Newbie) has never been solved.

The mural reads “Rest in peace Newbie,” as well as words added at later dates of “I miss you” and “Never know…,” which Samms assumed is about the identity of the murderer(s).

Freshco has given no official response to Samms or the Aldergrove Star after repeated attempts to glean information as to whether the tagging will remain on the back wall.

“It would be heartbreaking if the mural was covered,” Samms emphasized.

“It is not just nonsense there. It’s beautiful, and it was done really well,” she said about the street art.

According to the drawings that M&L painter Ken (undisclosed last name) was given a week ago by Freshco officials, the mural will not be painted over.

On Monday, he took to a side wall to paint its cement trimming dark grey, a signature colour of the Sobeys Inc.-owned grocery franchise.

Ken walked to the back of the building, pointing to where his drawing details to stop painting – “this last panel here,” he said, explaining it doesn’t reach as far as the mural.

Ken also said his company is the only one painting on this job. They were also contracted to complete the last Lower Mainland Safeway converted to Freshco, in Mission, which opened to the public this April.

RELATED: Aldergrove Safeway workers ‘shocked’ by impending store closure

“We started painting a week ago,” Ken said about his work on the new Aldergrove Freshco, “and will be done by this Friday.”

The Freshco in the 27000-block of Fraser Highway is rumoured to be opened for Halloween, Ken told the Aldergrove Star.

The slaying of Marud was one of two homicides that were discovered in the span of less than a year in Aldergrove.

Lights were installed along the south side path of the building following the murder – an outcome of a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) review requested by RCMP.

Marud’s mother, Kathryn Snell – who battled cancer during the time of her son’s death – was in her Springfield Drive home no more than 800 feet from where his body was discovered.

“My God he was just starting to become a man. He paid taxes, he worked. He was just coming home to watch a movie,” Snell told the Aldergrove Star in 2008, the same year she succumbed to cancer.

Police were tipped Marud’s location by an anonymous call at 3 a.m. – 12 years ago.

Marud, born a fetal-alcohol-syndrome baby, had told his mother on various occasions that he was chased home.

“I don’t think I’m going to be around much longer,” Marud reportedly told his mother before his murder, a killing which rocked the tight-knit community of Aldergrove.

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According to the drawings that M&L painter Ken was given a week ago by Freshco officials, the mural will not be painted over. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

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