Update 11:50 a.m. PT April 14: Ridge Meadows RCMP say they have located the suspect vehicle in the fatal hit-and-run.

Police are investigating a hit-and-run that left a woman dead Thursday night in Maple Ridge.

A pedestrian was struck on the Lougheed Highway between 216th Street and the Haney Bypass shortly before 10 p.m., according to Ridge Meadows RCMP.

"The vehicle did not remain in the area and the female tragically died at the scene," Sgt. Michelle Luca said in a news release.

The victim of the crash was identified by those who knew her as Tassis Vix. Those who knew her described her as a well-liked and respected member of the community, an animal lover who has lived in the area for more than a decade.

Friends who stopped by a memorial for the woman said she left behind a young daughter.

"She had a huge heart. She wore her heart on her sleeve," Ashley Paine said. She'd come to the highway to lay flowers on the side of the road where Vix died.

Paine said she's hopeful whoever struck Vix Thursday night will see the flowers and feel compelled to turn themselves in.

"She needs to be remembered," Paine said.

Vix worked at Haney Animal Hospital, where her boss said she was a favourite among his patients, and that people would call and ask to see her by name.

"She loved the pets," veterinarian Bhupinder Johar said. "She was in love with them through the whole of her heart. She really loved them. She had so many pets at home."

She also cared deeply for the people she dealt with every day, Johar added. When pet owners couldn't afford veterinary care, she would do everything she could to help them work things out, sometimes by placing calls to non-profit organizations on their behalf.

"She would spend hours calling these societies," Johar said. "She would go to any limit to help these people."

Vix was struck as she tried to cross the busy four-lane road.

Police have provided few details on the complex investigation, which is still in its early stages, but did say that the westbound vehicle that hit Vix didn't stop.

Officers could be seen searching the roadway with flashlights in the hours following the crash, and the RCMP's Air One helicopter circled above the scene, possibly searching for a suspect.

Lougheed was closed for 13 hours as officers investigated and crews cleared debris and personal items from the area.

They have not yet released a description of the vehicle but are asking witnesses to come forward, especially those with dashboard cameras.

People who live nearby appeared distraught. One resident whose yard backs onto the highway told CTV News she'd heard a loud bang.

"It sounded like an explosion, really. Didn't hear any tires screeching," Debora Ferreira said Friday.

She said she's used to the sound of brakes or metal hitting metal, so when she heard the crash, she thought it was a gunshot.

"Within ten minutes we heard commotion. People yelling and sirens were on scene shortly after."

Ferreira said the stretch of highway where the crash occurred sees a lot of accidents. It's dark and people often speed through it, she said.

With files from CTV Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim and Ben Miljure