Man surrenders in slaying of homeless woman
Published Tuesday, May 1, 2007 2:10PM EDT
Toronto police have arrested a 21-year-old man and charged him with first-degree murder in the slaying of a homeless woman killed on the weekend.
The accused surrendered to police at about 1 a.m. Tuesday morning after a family member saw surveillance images of the suspect on the news on Monday, homicide Det. Chris Buck said.
Martin Horacio Denarvaez, an unemployed Greater Toronto Area resident, was to appear in court Tuesday afternoon charged with strangling 33-year-old Bly Markis.
Buck told reporters the victim and her killer had only met a short time before the slaying occurred overnight Saturday.
"There was not a lot of conversation prior to the murder. They met a short distance away from where she was discovered and the incident occurred very quickly," Buck said.
Markis' body was found in a basement stairwell in the Xerox Centre building on Bloor Street near Yonge early Sunday morning.
Nearby surveillance cameras captured the 33-year-old walking through the concourse with a man, who is later seen fleeing with Markis' purse.
Police released images of the suspect and received strong tips from the public, leading to a quick arrest.
Investigators believe the two may have entered the building to do drugs and have sex, CTV's Jim Junkin reported.
Markis grew up in North York but worked as a massage therapist in California before recently moving back to Toronto. She had become homeless after several personal struggles, according to those who knew her.
Those problems included not being able to acquire the proper qualification to continue her work in Ontario.
Street nurse Thea Prescod told the Toronto Star that Markis was trying to rebuild her life. Markis had just finished three weeks' probation after spending time in jail on drug charges.
Markis spent her nights sleeping in a nook of the west wall of the brick Sanctuary, a centre inside a church on Charles Street that assists the homeless.
An autopsy on Monday ruled Markis died of "strangulation with blunt impact facial trauma."
Buck praised the surveillance cameras for helping in the investigation.
Toronto police, meanwhile, switched on about a dozen surveillance cameras around the city on Monday as part of a six-month pilot program.
The majority of the devices are watching over the entertainment district, while several cameras are in Scarborough's Malvern community and the Jane and Finch area.
The closed-circuit cameras are recording 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but police say they won't be watching the live feeds, only reviewing footage when an incident occurs.
With a report from CTV's Jim Junkin