UPDATE: Dead woman found in park had been reported missing to VicPD

UPDATE: Dead woman found in park had been reported missing to VicPD

Saanich police have confirmed the identity of the young woman found dead in Colquitz River Park Sunday afternoon.

Information on who she is, however, is currently being withheld at the request of her family.

“During the autopsy, we made a positive, formal identification of the deceased by way of fingerprints,” Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen said.

Two Victoria police detectives from the major crimes unit are now helping Saanich with the investigation. The woman, in her early 20s, was reported missing to Victoria police on Friday (June 10) by her boyfriend, said VicPD spokesman Const. Mike Russell. She was last seen more than a week before being reported missing.

“The deceased is known to us,” he said, though he would not comment on whether she was part of the street community.

The autopsy, held in New Westminster, was still underway when Jantzen spoke with the media Tuesday afternoon. The forensic pathologist examining the body, which was badly decomposed, had yet to determine how the woman died.

“The cause of death is something that’s not immediately apparent to our investigators or the Coroners Service,” Jantzen said, reiterating that foul play is suspected.

The park, located behind Tillicum Mall, has been cordoned off since Sunday afternoon with investigators expected to continue to remain at the site until Wednesday.

The woman’s body was found by a young boy walking with his father around 2:15 p.m., Sunday.

“This investigation has been hampered by the length of time that the individual has been there,” Jantzen said, adding that another concern is the body was found in a densely overgrown part of the park.

Police will not say whether the body was clothed, or if any personal effects were found nearby.

“We are (aware of) the fact this park is used as a residence (for homeless people), on occasion,” Jantzen said, adding there is no evidence suggesting the woman was living in the park.

While the B.C. Corners Service has yet to determine the cause of death, police say there’s no reason right now to issue a public warning.

“The parks in Saanich are very safe,” Jantzen said. “We recommend that residents exercise vigilance and caution with regards to their own personal safety.”

Anyone with information about this incident can call police at 250 475-4321.

kslavin@saanichnews.com