When 18-year-old Kimberly Proctor's mother called police to say her daughter failed to turn up for a babysitting job last Thursday night, officers knew this was more than just another teenager dropping thoughtlessly off the radar.

"There was a concern from the beginning," RCMP Cpl. Darren Lagan said Wednesday.

Proctor, whose badly burned body was discovered near a popular suburban Victoria hiking trail last Friday, was not the kind to miss appointments such as babysitting. Her parents were frantic.

"She should have been working that night and she didn't show up, so that caused her parents concern," said Lagan. "Her mom reported her missing on Thursday evening at 9 p.m."

He said police generally tell parents not to panic if their teenager can't be contacted for a few hours, but Proctor's disappearance had the Mounties immediately making efforts to find her.

The discovery of her body mushroomed a missing-person file into a murder hunt, with more than 40 investigators now trying to trace Proctor's movements and the connections in her life that may have led to her death.

Proctor was last seen getting off a transit bus in suburban Langford last Thursday morning at about 10:20 a.m.

The following day, a passerby discovered the popular Grade 12 student's remains under a bridge along the well-used Galloping Goose Trail that runs through Langford. The body was unrecognizable and pathologists needed DNA to confirm her identity.

Nearby residents reported hearing screams and detecting an odour near the area where her body was found.

Lagan described Proctor as a typical teenage girl who may have been doing some things her parents were not aware of but wasn't known to the police.

"Kimberly is not one of these girls who was on our radar leading up to this," he said. "From a policing perspective, she wasn't a troubled youth."

Homicide investigators are examining Proctor's school life, talking with friends and tracking down any recent new acquaintances after reports she may have started a new relationship with a man.

The investigative team now includes local RCMP and officers from integrated units on Vancouver Island and the Vancouver area.

"We did get some information overnight which investigators have described as helpful," Lagan said. "It's mixtures. That goes from her peers, the younger kids at the school, to complete strangers who are coming forward."

With no solid information whether Proctor knew her killer or was the victim of a random attack, police were warning residents of the quiet rural suburb to be vigilant.

Insp. Mark Fisher of West Shore RCMP urged people, especially women and teenaged girls, to be cautious when walking alone on the 60-kilometre Galloping Goose Trail or any other community trails.

"While we do not want to alarm anyone, the fact remains that the person (or persons) responsible for this crime are still at large," Fisher said in a statement.

Fisher, chief of the West Shore detachment, said he broke the news of Kimberley's death to her parents Saturday.

"As a parent and the local police chief I share their grief and cannot even imagine the pain they are going through," he said. "It was evident during my discussion with them that Kimberly Proctor came from a loving family that was close knit and will miss her dearly."