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Body found on B.C.'s Bowen Island prompts speculation on missing girl's fate

Bowen Island as seen from a BC ferry July 13, 2010.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

Police are investigating what is being described as a suspicious death after a body was found on a Bowen Island property.

The discovery, announced Saturday and being investigated by the Bowen Island RCMP and the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, has renewed speculation over the fate of Jodi Henrickson, a 17-year-old who disappeared in June of 2009 and whose last reported sighting was on the island.

IHIT spokeswoman Sergeant Jennifer Pound said that an autopsy would be required to confirm identification, cause of death and how long the body had been where it was found – in a semi-rural area on the island, a 20-minute ferry ride from Vancouver.

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Police have said the discovery does not appear to be linked to Ms. Henrickson's case.

In the meantime, however, island residents are torn between hope that the mystery of Ms. Henrickson's disappearance might be solved and foreboding over what the investigation will conclude.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions," Neil Boyd, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University and a long-time resident of Bowen Island, said on Sunday.

"People just really want to know who that person is and how he or she got there."

The body was discovered near an area where Ms. Henrickson was reportedly last seen and on a property linked to a man police have described as a person of interest in her disappearance.

Ms. Henrickson, who attended Howe Sound Secondary School, last had contact with family and friends in June of 2009. Friends reported seeing her at house parties before she disappeared. Police classified her death as a homicide in 2010 and there have been several searches and poster campaigns aimed at determining her fate.

Her family, which reported her disappearance, said it was out of character for her to not check in with family or friends.

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Police have made public appeals for help, saying it's possible that some people know more than they are telling police.

RCMP contacted the Henrickson family before publicly announcing that a body had been found but provided little other information, Jodi's older brother, Rob James Henrickson, said on Sunday.

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