Missing Smithers teenager found dead: town mayor
Published Sunday, September 16, 2018 5:08PM PDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 16, 2018 5:10PM PDT
Mourners attended a vigil Sunday afternoon to honour a missing Smithers teenager.
The town’s mayor wrote in a Facebook post that the body of Jessica Patrick (Balczer) was found near the community Saturday.
“My heart goes out to those who knew and loved her,” Mayor Taylor Bachrach wrote.
RCMP said they are investigating the discovery of human remains but have not released the victim’s identity, adding they are working with the BC Coroners Service to positively identify the deceased.
The 18-year-old has been missing in the area since August 31, when she was last seen leaving the Mountain View Motel in the early morning hours.
Patrick was reported missing three days later.
At the time, RCMP said the case was a “high priority” and they were investigating.
Vigil to pay tribute to Patrick
Some questioned whether it was premature to hold a vigil for Patrick, but the event organizer said the family received noticed Saturday.
“I reached out to the family and asked for their permission to do this,” Dianna Johansen said.
She said Patrick’s family, along with local chiefs, the mayor, and neighbouring nations council members attended the vigil.
“[They] came to share words of encouragement to the families. It was very uplifting,” she said.
Women were asked to wear red as a way of paying tribute to Patrick and the other missing and murdered Indigenous women.
“Let’s come together as a community, support those who are grieving and recommit ourselves to ensuring safety for all women and girls,” the mayor wrote.
Police said they will not be releasing more information until a positive identification has been made.