Mourners attended a vigil Sunday afternoon to honour a missing Smithers teenager.
The town’s mayor wrote in a Facebook post that the body of Jessica Patrick (Balczer) was found near the community Saturday.
“My heart goes out to those who knew and loved her,” Mayor Taylor Bachrach wrote.
RCMP said they are investigating the discovery of human remains but have not released the victim’s identity, adding they are working with the BC Coroners Service to positively identify the deceased.
The 18-year-old has been missing in the area since August 31, when she was last seen leaving the Mountain View Motel in the early morning hours.
Patrick was reported missing three days later.
At the time, RCMP said the case was a “high priority” and they were investigating.
Some questioned whether it was premature to hold a vigil for Patrick, but the event organizer said the family received noticed Saturday.
“I reached out to the family and asked for their permission to do this,” Dianna Johansen said.
She said Patrick’s family, along with local chiefs, the mayor, and neighbouring nations council members attended the vigil.
“[They] came to share words of encouragement to the families. It was very uplifting,” she said.
Women were asked to wear red as a way of paying tribute to Patrick and the other missing and murdered Indigenous women.
“Let’s come together as a community, support those who are grieving and recommit ourselves to ensuring safety for all women and girls,” the mayor wrote.
Police said they will not be releasing more information until a positive identification has been made.
On Monday September 3 2018, Smithers RCMP received a report of a missing person. Jessica Balczer, 18-years-old had not been seen since Friday August 31 2018.
Jessica was seen leaving the Mountain View Motel in Smithers in the early morning hours of August 31 2018 and there have been unconfirmed sightings of Jessica in the Smithers downtown core, her whereabouts have yet to be established.
Jessica is described as:
- First Nations
- 5’ 3 tall
- 115 pounds
- long black hair
- brown eyes
She was last seen wearing a black sweater with markings on the front, dark pants, black shoes, and carrying a brown purse.
This remains a high priority and the investigation is ongoing.
If you see Jessica, or know where she may be, you are asked to call the Smither’s RCMP at 250-847-3233 or, if you wish to remain anonymous, you can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222- 8477.