B.C. lawyer accused of placing human remains in plastic trash can was ‘trusted friend’ of victim, family say

The daughter of a slain university professor in Kamloops, British Columbia is shocked to learn that one of her father’s trusted friends is linked to the homicide investigation.

Lawyer Rogelio Butch Bagabuyo, 54, was charged with placing the remains of Mohd Abdullah, 60, an instructor at Thompson River University, in a plastic trash can, and is charged with one count of intervention on a corpse.

It is not yet known whether he is suspected of being linked to the homicide itself.

Abdullah’s daughter, Sarah Jeet Lalata-Buco, lives in the Philippines and says she last spoke with her father on March 7, a week before he disappeared and 10 days before his body was found.

Lalata-Buco described her father, who worked in the computer science department at Thompson Rivers University, as a soft-spoken man with a strong work ethic.

“My dad is a quiet person, but he’s kind,” she said. “He always gives me wisdom every time we talk. Whenever he visits me here in the Philippines, he always talks to me – heart-to-heart talks.”

‘A loving dad’ who was close to the accused

Her husband, Jhuls Buco, described Abdullah as a “humble” person he could always turn to for advice.

“A loving dad is how I see it,” he said.

Kamloops, B.C. lawyer Rogelio Butch Bagabuyo, 54, was charged with meddling with human remains on March 21. (Kamloops Collaborative Family Law Association)

Buco said Abdullah and Bagabuyo were close friends and he often heard about the lawyer from his father-in-law.

“He says this man is a trusted friend, a good friend… whenever he needs legal advice, he always goes to Butch,” he said.

Accused released on bail

According to the RMCP, Abdullah, 60, was last heard from on March 11 and reported missing on March 14 after failing to report for work.

He was found dead inside a vehicle on the 1600 block of Monterey Place on March 17, and on March 23 police said he would be a victim of homicide.

Bagabuyo is accused of placing Abdullah’s body in a plastic trash can and is charged with one count of interference with a corpse.

Bagabuyo was released on bail on Friday.

Police are continuing to seek public information about the case and have released images of Abdullah – described as five-foot-eight and weighing 126 pounds with black hair and brown eyes – in the hope of rekindling the memory of Abdullah. potential witnesses.

RCMP previously released an image of a white van linked to the investigation. The van is described as a white 2020 GMC Budget Rental Van with British Columbia license plate PJ 9131.

Police said the van may have traveled to Kamloops and surrounding rural communities, such as Barriere, Clearwater, Savona, Cache Creek and further afield to Valemount.

RCMP released footage of Mohd Abdullah from March 14, 2022. Abdullah is believed to be the victim of a homicide. (RCMP)

Thompson Rivers University said in a statement that Abdullah worked at the university for 21 years, playing an important role in the science and open learning faculty. The university said it was cooperating with the police and arranging counseling for those in need.

Police did not say whether further charges were recommended for Bagabuyo.

Bagabuyo’s next court appearance will be on April 21.

Anyone with information about this van is asked to contact Kamloops RCMP immediately. (Kamloops RCMP)