Remains found off Penelakut are those of missing teen

Remains found off Norway Island, just east of Penelakut Island are those of missing teen Delores Brown, RCMP have confirmed.

Remains found off Norway Island, just east of Penelakut Island are those of missing teen Delores Brown, RCMP have confirmed.

Foul play had been suspected in the disappearance of the young Penelakut Island woman, who was last seen on the island on July 27.

“The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit (VIIMCU) notified the Brown family earlier today,” Island District RCMP spokesman Cpl. Darren Lagan Tuesday said afternoon. “BC Coroners Service is continuing their work to determine a cause of death. Pending the results of this key finding, investigators continue to pursue a criminal investigation into Delores’ death, as foul play is suspected.”

A group of kayakers found the remains in the waters Aug. 19.

The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, Island District Tactical Team, RCMP Air Services, Search and Rescue teams and the greater community had been searching for the 19-year-old since she was reported missing on July 29.

Family members sequestered themselves and rescue volunteers had a cultural day of a healing last week, following the news from RCMP.

“You can definitely feel the tension in the air,” said Denise James, natural resources advisor to the island of about 300 people, off Chemainus.

Brown’s family has asked James to speak on their behalf while they came to terms with their loved one possibly meeting foul play.

Their worst fears have materialized. No arrests have been made, Lagan said.

James said while she didn’t know Brown well — the 19-year-old is younger than James’s youngest daughter — everyone knows each other on Penelakut.

She described Delores as “shy,” and said it’s unlikely a stranger would convince her to put her herself at risk of harm.

“In knowing her, and seeing her with her sisters and brothers, I don’t think she would willingly go off with somebody. She would want at least one sibling with her,” James said.

Police ask those with information on Delores Brown’s case to contact the Ladysmith RCMP at 250-245-2215 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

With files from Darrell Bellaart