Calgary police say they have new information that suggests the 2018 death of former Calgary Stampeder Mike Labinjo is suspicious in nature.
Labinjo, 38, was found dead in his home on Sept. 21, 2018. At the time, the circumstances of his death were not believed to be criminal in nature.
In a news release Monday, the Calgary Police Service said investigators now have new information and, in consultation with the medical examiner’s officer, have deemed Labinjo’s death suspicious.
After his death, police said members of Labinjo’s family reported many of his personal belongings missing from his home.
Police conducted an investigation and said Monday that numerous items and sports memorabilia, including two distinct football championship rings, were stolen from Labinjo’s home “immediately following his death.”
The rings have “Labinjo” written on the side and have not been recovered, according to police.
Officers are now asking the public for help identifying four suspects believed to be responsible for the ring thefts. Police believe the suspects, who were captured on CCTV at Labinjo’s home, may also have information about his death. (See photos below).
Labinjo’s brother, Randy, released the following statement on Monday in hopes of encouraging people to come forward with information.
“To all who knew Mike, he was a caring, kind, gentle and loving person. To me, he was my brother. I love him. When I lost him, I lost a part of myself that I can never regain. I think about growing up together and the things I learned from him. I will continue to remember all the memories we shared together.
“Mike loved his daughter Hailey. She was his world. Hailey now has to grow up and experience things without Mike in her life. I can’t imagine how hard this has been and will continue to be for her. My heart breaks for her.
“My mother lost her first-born son. I see her pain and it makes me sad. She struggles to accept the realization that Mike is gone. No mother should have to lose their son. I love you mom.
“We are asking that anyone with any information about Mike’s death please come forward or call the Calgary Police Service. You can remain anonymous. I would also like to thank the Calgary police for all the work they have done involving this case.”
Labinjo was a member of the Stampeders 2008 Grey Cup championship team. He played four seasons with the Stampeders after a three-year career in the NFL.
Anyone with information about the thefts or Labinjo’s death is asked to contact the CPS non-emergency number at 403-266-1234 or the homicide unit tip line at 403-428-8877. Anonymous tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers.
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