Dec 23, 2022 I Brent Swancer

The Mysterious Death of Lindsay Buziak

Lindsay Elizabeth Buziak was a young, up and coming real estate agent in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada who in 2008 was gaining traction in her job and seen as having a promising start in the industry. She was happy, making good progress as a real estate agent, and had a great relationship with boyfriend, Jason Zailo, who was a member of a particularly prominent family within Victoria that owned several successful real estate businesses. Her life really seemed to be looking up, but in January of that year dark clouds would loom large, and she was about to become the center of a strange unsolved mystery. 

At the time she was mostly involved with selling smaller real estate, houses under half a million dollars, so she was a bit surprised when in late January she received a call from an unrecognized number, which turned out to be a woman with a foreign accent looking to buy a very expensive property over a million dollars for her and her husband. The woman was very specific in what they wanted, saying they were looking for a house that was already set up and move-in ready, that it had to be within 15 to 20 minutes from town, and with at least three beds, three baths, as well as a separate housekeeper’s quarters within the house. It was also stressed that they needed the property urgently and did not have time to wait. When Buziak asked her how she had gotten her number, the woman merely said she had heard it from one of her former clients, which was a little odd considering most clients contacted her firm’s number directly, but it was nothing too ominous. Although Buziak was a little concerned that such an expensive property was out of her league and a bit shifty on the circumnstances, with a little support from her family and Zailo, she decided to take the job. 

Lindsay Buziak

Buziak went about compiling a list and emailing a few suggestions to the woman on February 1st, after which the two women exchanged 10 more phone calls over the next few days and decided on a promising property in an upscale suburb of Victoria called Saanich, as well as a date to go look at it. At around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 2nd, 2008, Buziak went to go meet with the woman, who she referred to simply as “the Mexican,” and her boyfriend also planned to come to give her support after dropping off some paperwork at a local auto detailing shop. Zailo would text her saying, “I’ll come meet you and I’ll be 10 – 15 minutes or so,” to which Buziak would respond “okay I’ll see you in a bit I gotta go the Mexicans are here.” As he approached the property he texted again, “just a couple of minutes away,” but it would never be opened. They never would meet other again, and the next time Zailo saw his girlfriend she would be dead.

From here, the sinister events that were about unfold get a bit murky. Witnesses would later say that they had seen Buziak at the house with a woman with short blond hair and a “distinctive red dress” and a 6-foot-tall well-dressed Caucasian man with dark hair, and that various real estate papers had been out. The three of them were then seen to shake hands and enter the house, but they never came back out. This was already a bit odd, since it would be found that the woman buying the property had told Buziak she would be coming to the showing alone, but the witnesses would say that Buziak seemed to be unperturbed by it. Zailo would arrive at the home along with a friend right after his girlfriend had gone in, and proceed to wait for her to finish the house showing. He ended up waiting there for 30 minutes, after which he texted Buziak to ask if she was almost done but she never opened the text. Impatient, he went to try the door of the house to find it locked, which was something a real estate agent would never do, and after ringing the doorbell many times and calling out to his girlfriend with no response he called authorities. 

As the two of them waited for police to arrive, Zailo’s friend went around the back of the house and found that the back door was wide open. Now that they had a way in, the two entered the home and began looking around, and it did not take long for them to find Buziak’s lifeless, bloody body in an upstairs room. When police arrived, they quickly ascertained that Buziak had died from being brutally stabbed over 40 times, although oddly there were no defensive wounds, meaning she had not tried to fight back. There was no sign of sexual assault or robbery. The entire house was searched, but no sign could be found of the couple she had been with, and rather weirdly K9 units that were brought in could not detect their scent outside of the home, as if they had just vanished into thin air. No fingerprints were found at the scene, nor traces of DNA, and the whole scene was seemingly devoid of any usable forensic evidence at all. 

Police went about trying to get a bead on the identities of the couple who had come to see the house, who were immediately the prime suspects, but it was slow-going. Neighbors were questioned but no one remembered anyone leaving the scene, which was strange in that the couple was described as very distinctive in appearance. Adding to the conundrum was that all of Buziak’s documentation merely mentioned them as “the Mexicans,” and there was no mention of actual names or other useful information. It was found that the mysterious couple had called Lindsay using a burner phone that had been purchased at a Vancouver convenience store between three to six weeks before the murder and had been activated less than 48 hours before the stabbing, but it been registered to a fake name. The phone had been deactivated shortly after the murder, and although the address listed for the fake name was a legitimate address, it was for a business that police believe had no connection at all to the couple and was probably chosen at random. 

The investigation soon turned up some rather sinister clues that further pointed to the mysterious couple as the killers. It was found that before taking the job, Buziak had expressed apprehension about it to her father, Jeff Buziak. She had told him that something felt a little off about the woman, and that she had suspected that her foreign accent was fake and “kind of Spanish but not really.” She had also told him that she was concerned because the woman had not called her company number, which is the number on her brochures, but instead had cold called her personal cell phone number. Despite all of these strange details, she had not been so suspicious that she wanted to back out of the deal, but it was the reason she had wanted her boyfriend to tag along. 

It was now believed that this couple, whoever they were, had more likely than not committed the murder, but there was very little discernible motive. Buziak was described as getting along with everyone she knew, and as having no known enemies, so who would have wanted her dead, and in such a horrific fashion? Authorities pointed out that the elaborate crime was not random, and would have taken an enormous amount of planning to pull off, so who would have gone through so much trouble to so viciously kill this unassuming woman? One idea was that she had been targeted by someone for a professional hit, possibly because she had seen something she was not supposed to or was even involved in some sort of criminal activity herself. One of the investigators on the case would say of it:

There is nothing in her life — and we’ve conducted an extensive background check — that would indicate that she was involved in anything criminal, in anything of a domestic violence relationship, and that is the most perplexing thing. It is possible Buziak’s killers were under the mistaken impression she had revealed information she shouldn’t have, or perhaps that she was somehow connected to a dangerous person without knowing it. You can be a person who just works and minds their own business in Victoria, yet through a very brief network of friends, you could be absolutely connected to people that are involved in very bad things.

So who would have wanted her dead and why? Another idea was that the crime was personal, and planned and carried out by someone close to her. Police briefly considered Zailo as a possible suspect after learning that Buziak had complained to friends about him being jealous and overbearing and as wanting to possibly break up with him, but he was quickly dropped as a person of interest. They also looked at people in the community who may have wanted to do Buziak harm but came up empty. Likewise, Jason Zailo’s prominent family came under scrutiny and were investigated for this case as well, but showed no evidence that they had anything to do with it. No one could really agree on who would have wanted her dead, but one thing authorities did agree on was that in such a close-knit community as Victoria, someone likely knew something and just wasn’t talking. Then-inspector Rob McColl, who led the investigation, would say:

This killing was very organized. There was a lot of planning and effort and forethought. These are the most complex crimes. And this is the most egregious crime and often they can become long-term and complicated. There are people in the community who are withholding information. We know there is a bit of cone of silence around this. It’s not cool to tell on your friends, it’s not cool to rat people out … Many times in a homicide investigation you can get past that because it’s also not cool to kill people. There should be some assurance to anyone that is considering speaking to the police, that we’re not really interested in the skeletons in your closet. We have the ability to put that aside and focus in on what we’re really interested in, and that is catching these killers.

Over the years there have been few leads to go on, but one rather bizarre possible tip come in 2008, when a friend of Buziak’s claimed that she was awakened by a telephone call in the middle of the night from an unknown number. When she had picked up the phone, she had spoken to a woman who spoke in a strange accent that she could not place. This immediately reminded her of the woman who had called Buziak, so she was scared at the time. The woman hung up, and the friend called back around 20 times before someone answered, and it turned out to be Jason Zailo’s mother, Shirley Zailo. When asked why she had called her and how she had her number, as they did not know each other, Shirley replied that she had meant to call her secretary, and that she didn't know why this number was in her contact list but presumed that her son Jason Zailo must have added it. Shirley would categorically deny that this ever took place, and when it hit the news and Jeff Buziak began actively pushing to pursue her as a suspect she even pursued suing on allegations of defamation. Police have never considered Shirley Zailo a possible suspect. There was another supposed full confession to the crime posted to a public message board in 2017 from the possible killer, which read:

I killed Lindsay and stupid cops will never prove it, so you all got nothin’, no one gives a shit anymore anyhow except her crybaby dad.  Even her fakey girlfriends have washed it away, typical loser chicks.  Saanich cops dropped it cause they can’t solve shit and where told to drop it.  Cut the phony investigation, it’s done.  Go home losers, forget about her.  The street always rules, bitches die every day.

The message was heavily discussed at the time, but did not lead us anywhere near the answers we seek. Although there have been other possible leads that have come up, none have led to anything significant and the case remains unsolved. There is still a walk every February in remembrance of Lindsay Buziak, so her spirit is alive despite the fact that we don't know what happened to her. Hers remains a case mired in the weird, cloaked in shadows, the killers unknown and unpunished, and what really happened that day may forever remain a mystery to us. 

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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