Fake photos of the suspects that helped Rabih "Robby" Alkhalil are one of the factors that have stymied Mounties in their search for the accused killer.
Coquitlam RCMP are reaching out to the public once more for any information about Alkhalil or his accomplices, who, as it turns out, left behind stock images of people that resembled them prior to breaking the 35-year-old man out of the North Fraser Pretrial Centre.
It took place before 7 p.m. last Thursday (July 21) when the suspects posed as employed contractors in reflector vests and black jumpsuits.
Police were notified of Alkhalil's disappearance at 7:30 p.m. the same evening.
Since the discovery of the fake images, spokesperson Const. Deanna Law explains investigators recovered and are currently examining the vehicle used in the escape — a white Ford Econoline van — and have made contact with multiple agencies in working together to find Alkhalil.
As he's considered dangerous, this includes local, provincial, federal and even international enforcement, such as a Canada-wide warrant and a pending Interpol Red Notice.
As well, police has conducted several interviews and reviewed hours of CCTV footage from the Port Coquitlam jail (1451 Kingsway Ave.).
However, Law says there's still "no useful images" of the Alkhalil or the two men involved that can be released publicly to move the case forward.
"It is believed that the suspects who helped Alkhalil escape bear a close resemblance to the identification they left behind, but those images are not them," she adds in an update today (July 25).
"Coquitlam RCMP decided it was in the best interest of the investigation to quickly release the images of the 'two tentatively identified suspects.' This is a multi-level investigation, and details are developing at a rapid pace."
Law explains police are working "around the clock" in hopes of generating leads and notes "favourable" tips are still coming in from the public — even based off of the fake photos.
"For this case, time is crucial and it’s important to keep the public as informed as possible even though the facts could change as we go," she said in an update on Saturday (July 23).
It's believed Alkhalil might be trying to flee the province, and potentially the country, as he has connections across Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.
He was extradited from Greece to face first-degree murder charges for his alleged involvement in the January 2012 death of Sandip Duhre, who was gunned down at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre.
The shooting occurred in a busy restaurant occupied by patrons, including the Cuban women’s national soccer team when they were in the city for the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tournament.
Alkhalil was charged with the murder of Duhre in 2018, but pleaded not guilty.
If he or his accomplices are seen, the public is strongly urged to not approach them and call 911 right away.
Alkhalil is described as:
- Middle Eastern
- 166 pounds
- Short black hair
- Brown eyes
The first suspect is described as:
- In his 30s
- Narrow face
- Arched eyebrows
- Slightly crooked nose
The second suspect is described as:
- In his 30s
- Oval face
- Light eyebrows
- Close-set eyes
Anyone with more information on Alkhalil and the suspects, or their whereabouts, is urged to call Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550 and ask for the major crime unit.
Coquitlam RCMP says the North Fraser Pretrial Centre is cooperating with the investigation.
Mounties are also working closely with the Vancouver Police Department, Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), as well as other international counterparts.
- with files from Jeremy Hainsworth, Glacier Media