Body of missing Vancouver Island teen found
The body of missing teenager Tyeshia Jones was found in a wooded area Friday morning, putting a tragic end to one of the largest-ever search and rescue missions on Vancouver Island.
The 18-year-old left a friend's home in Duncan in the middle of the night on Jan. 21 to meet a boy at a local grocery store but never arrived. Her cell phone was found on the grounds of the Yuthuythut Adult Learning Centre the next day.
Her disappearance sparked a week of intense ground and air searches by more than 100 Mounties and several groups of search and rescue technicians.
Searchers discovered the teen's body on Cowichan tribal lands just behind a First Nations cemetery shortly after 11 a.m. Friday.
Her death is being treated as suspicious and police say foul play is involved. The case is now a homicide investigation, Cpl. Darren Lagan said.
"We are doing absolutely everything we can to identify who was responsible for Tyeshia's death and bring those answers first and foremost to her family and then the larger community," Lagan told reporters.
Police have not said how she died. An autopsy is expected on Monday.
In Pictures: Grim discovery
At the scene, Jones' cousin thanked everyone who was involved in the widespread search.
"The only satisfaction we're going to have is bringing her home now," Joe Thorne said.
"At least we'll have closure and the RCMP can pick it up from there to find out who the bad guys are."
Members of the RCMP Forensic Identification Section are expected to remain at the scene to process evidence for several days.
Mounties said investigators are very aware of the shock waves the discovery will have on the small Island community. RCMP pleaded for anyone with information to come forward.
"Our experience in cases like this is that somebody or some people know what happened," Cpl. Darren Lagan said.
"There is a family in absolute agony right now and a community feeling that agony."
The family planned to have a candlelight vigil in Tyeshia's honour late Friday night.