Homicide detectives have released photos of a woman believed to have been with the killer of a Toronto construction worker around the time he was stabbed to death early New Year's Day, and the victim's grieving family and fiancée implored the mystery woman to step forward.
"We need closure," said Jennifer Defraga, long-time girlfriend of 24-year-old Mike Pimentel, who died several hours after being stabbed multiple times in downtown Liberty Village.
"This is unfair to us, you wouldn't want to be in our shoes. I am begging this female in this picture, or anybody who recognizes her or knows the slightest thing that happened that night, to please come forward."
Det. Sgt. Wayne Banks told reporters police are certain the unidentified woman was with the murderer that evening, but declined to say when, where or how the photos were taken.
She is thought to be from 20 to 30 years old, of medium height and weight, with a distinctive hairstyle: Dark on top, with long blond extensions. She was wearing black knee-high boots, a black and white outfit and a black waist-length jacket.
Mr. Pimentel's death was the city's second homicide of the year.
He was stabbed at around 2:45 a.m. after leaving the Liberty Grand nightclub on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition and becoming separated from a group of friends he was with. He died in St. Michael's Hospital later that morning.
The altercation occurred near East Liberty Street and Hanna Avenue, but with whom, and over what, remains unclear. Ms. Defraga had been with him at the nightclub and said there was no prior trouble of which she was aware.
Det. Sgt. Banks said more than 20 people have provided investigators with help so far, but that information about the killer is scant. He said the woman police are anxious to interview is a "person of interest," and that she does not face charges at the moment.
"If you have any fear at all in regards to the legal system, please contact a lawyer [and]have your lawyer contact us."
A keen bodybuilder and father of a young daughter, Mr. Pimentel has been widely described as hard-working and cheerful. His death has been devastating to the closely knit family, his older brother Josh said.
"We as a family are just pleading for help, we need someone to step up and say something," Mr. Pimentel's sister-in-law, Carina Nunes, told reporters. "We need this done and over with, it's been too long and this person [killer]is still out there."
Anyone with information is asked to call the homicide squad at 416−808−7411 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416−222−TIPS (8477).