Melissa Steele, 19, is the latest woman to be found dead in the Hope region.
Her body was discovered north of Hope, at a pullout near the Sailor Bar Tunnel on May 26. Integrated Homicide is working on the case, and wants to talk to anyone with dash cam video from May 25 and 26 between Boston Bar and Hope.
Little other information has been shared by police about the young woman, other than she lived a transient lifestyle and had frequented the downtown Vancouver area.
But she is the fourth woman to go missing or have been found murdered in or near Hope in the span of about one year.
Trina Hunt was found near Silver Creek on March 29, and had been missing since mid January. Police are still looking for information that could lead to an arrest in the case, and her family has now offered a $50,000 reward. They’ve also searched her home and that of her husband’s parents.
The body of Langley woman Alicia Hatarina Berg, 29, was discovered by a passing motorist on the side of Highway 1 approximately three kilometres east of the Yale Tunnel on June 3, 2020. She was also said to have “lived a transient lifestyle.”
Police are also working on the case of missing Spuzzum woman, April Parisian. She was last in contact with people she knew on April 5, 2020. Parisian’s partner, Paris Margesson, was found dead from what police believe to be a self-inflicted wound on April 16, 2020 in a truck and camper belonging to her.
Parisian, who has been identified as Indigenous, has yet to be found. Her family considers her one of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women.
The number of women either going missing or being found murdered in the Fraser Canyon seems higher than ever. And they aren’t the first ones. Amelie Sakkalis, 28, was found dead near Boston Bar on Aug. 22, 2018. She had been hitchhiking between Penticton and Vancouver when she was killed. Sean McKenzie is serving a sentence for her murder, and won’t be eligible for parole until 2042.
There is also Shawnee Inyallie, whose body was found down the Fraser River in Delta in the summer of 2018. The RCMP deemed her death a suicide, but the family says she had no reason to do that and it doesn’t fit with her character.
At this year’s Red Dress Day rally in Hope, her family members said they do consider her among the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women.
The Hope Standard has reached out to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team for updates on all four women’s cases.
RCMP urge anyone with information regarding any of these investigation to call the IHIT information line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to remain anonymous, provide your tip information on the web at solvecrime.ca or by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
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