Saanich police have confirmed the identity of the young woman found dead in Colquitz River Park Sunday afternoon.
Shannon Elizabeth Rogers was positively identified during an autopsy Tuesday in New Westminster. It is still not known, however, how the 26-year-old died. She had been reported missing to Victoria police two days before her body was found.
“Preliminary results of the autopsy do not reveal an immediate cause of death,” Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen said, noting the autopsy also did not determine how long the woman had been dead.
VicPD spokesman Const. Mike Russell said the woman’s boyfriend reported her missing on Friday (June 10), saying she hadn’t been seen in a week.
Rogers was known to VicPD and was part of the street community.
“She was well known and well entrenched in the local Victoria street scene,” Jantzen said, but would not elaborate on her history. Court records show Rogers was found guilty, earlier this year, of possession of a controlled substance in Victoria provincial court.
Megan Lewis, programs manager at PEERS, a downtown non-profit that provides assistance to sex trade workers, says she didn’t know Rogers personally but knew of her and believed she was involved in the sex trade.
“The warnings we’re putting out now are the ones we put out every night. Do things as safely as possible, make sure someone knows where you are, trust your guts,” Lewis said. “We love our people. We don’t want anything to happen with them.”
Because police and the B.C. Coroners Service cannot determine the cause of death, Saanich police still say foul play is suspected.
“The manner in which this young lady was found is suspicious to our investigators. The death itself is concerning,” he said.
Rogers’ badly decomposed body was found by a young boy walking with his father around 2:15 p.m. on Sunday.
“This investigation has been hampered by the length of time that the individual has been there,” Jantzen said earlier this week, adding that the body was found in a densely overgrown part of the park.
Colquitz River Park, located behind Tillicum Centre, is known as an area where homeless people have set up temporary camps, though Jantzen said there is no evidence suggesting the woman was living in the park.
Two Victoria police major crimes unit detective are assisting Saanich with the investigation.
“We are making a public appeal for people who have run in to her or know her and can help us establish a timeframe as to when she was last seen,” Jantzen said.
Anyone with information on Rogers is asked to call Saanich police at 250-475-4356.