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The Globe and Mail

Rachel Pernosky a victim of homicide, police say

Rachel Pernosky is shown in an RCMP handout photo.

Handout/The Canadian Press

Hours after Rachel Pernosky's body was discovered, her sister, Brittany, posted a simple, four-word status update to a Facebook group that was dedicated to finding the young Mission mother: "We did our best."

Investigators located the body of Ms. Pernosky, 18, at the bottom of a steep embankment off Old Orchard Road in Chilliwack on Tuesday, three days after she was reported missing. A passerby had called police to report seeing a body off the rural road that afternoon, said Sergeant Jennifer Pound, a spokeswoman for the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

Because of the steep terrain, a search and rescue crew was called in to retrieve Ms. Pernosky's body.

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An autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death, but Sgt. Pound said "it is clear that Rachel was the victim of homicide" because of evidence retrieved so far.

Ms. Pernosky, the mother of a baby boy, was last seen at home in the 7700-block of Kite Street in Mission just after midnight on Saturday. She had no history of running away and her purse and cellphone were left at home, police said.

The teen was an avid user of social media – including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and dating websites – but all communication stopped abruptly that day.

"We know that this generation utilizes social media as a main part of communicating with friends," Sgt. Pound said. "In any of our investigations, social media is taken into consideration and investigated appropriately."

The baby was with his father at the time and the father is not presently considered a suspect, Sgt. Pound said. However, investigators do have several persons of interest who will be interviewed. The attack is not believed to be random, Sgt. Pound said.

She added: "This is a tragedy where a young mom has had her life taken from her and a family is left wondering why."

Friends and family have organized a candlelight vigil for 7 p.m. on Thursday at Heritage Park in Mission. The following night, a number of local bands will be playing a fundraiser for the Pernosky family at Sniper's Pool Hall, also in Mission.

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Based in Vancouver, Andrea Woo is a general assignment reporter with a focus on multimedia journalism. More

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