UBC professor who went missing on Salt Spring Island has been found dead, say RCMP
VANCOUVER -- A University of British Columbia professor who went missing after running errands earlier this week has been found dead.
“The body of a Salt Spring Island woman missing since May 12 was found on May 15,” reads a statement from BC RCMP’s Cpl. Chris Manseau, released Saturday shortly after 1 p.m.
“Although a full determination has yet to be made, RCMP do not believe that criminality was involved in the woman’s sudden death.”
Loved by her many students, friends and family, Sinikka Elliott was an avid hiker, and RCMP said on Friday that her car had been found on the side of a road near a popular hiking area.
“The BC Coroners Service is also investigating to determine how, where, when and by what means she came to her death,” the RCMP statement said.
More than 100 people contributed to the search for Elliott, said RCMP.
Search and rescue crews from Vancouver and Vancouver Island assisted in the search, and members of the public were asked to let the trained crews do the searching. In a tweet, Comox Valley Search and Rescue described the efforts as “intensive wilderness searching.”
Elliott, a mother of two and an associate professor at UBC, studied families and inequality, among other things. In a tweet from fall 2020, she shared a link to her new research on food insecurity in the U.S., saying she was “happy this piece is out.”
Elliott and her husband have a home on Salt Spring island and her vehicle had been found at Juniper Place Road around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday. She had last been seen earlier that day when she left home to run errands.
Guy Stecklov, professor and department head for the university’s department of sociology, released a statement following the news that Elliott’s body was found.
Hired in 2017, Elliot was “a highly engaged colleague at all levels of the department,” “particularly devoted to her students in sociology,” and had a “deep-felt commitment to social justice and equality for all,” he said.
“As department head, I have had the honour of working with Sinikka and have gained, as have so many others, from her unwavering passion for both understanding and addressing longstanding systematic inequalities pervading society,” he said.
Kerry Greer, a friend and colleague of Elliott’s, spoke to CTV News Vancouver before Elliott’s body was found, and described her as a loving person and a strong hiker.
“Sinikka is one of the most reliable, personable people I know, and she’s not someone who would recklessly go for a long hike and not tell someone where she was going,” Greer had said.
“It’s very unusual and very concerning,” she added.