The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) has confirmed that it is investigating the death of Abbotsford’s Chelsey Gauthier, reported missing in late July.
IHIT released the information on Friday afternoon, saying the Abbotsford Police Department’s investigation of the missing-person case led them to search an isolated area of Mission near Sylvester Road and Dale Road on Aug. 16.
During the search, they found a female body, and the death was “consistent with homicide,” according to Cpl. Frank Jang of IHIT.
He said DNA analysis confirmed yesterday (Thursday) that the body was that of Gauthier.
Jang said IHIT continues to work with the APD, Mission RCMP, the Intergrated Forensic Identification Section and the B.C. Coroners Service to gather evidence.
“From the evidence collected so far, investigators believe that Miss Gauthier’s death was not random,” he said.
Police released no further details about the case, including the cause of death and whether suspects have been identified or arrested.
Gauthier is the mom of two daughters, ages 3 and 2. She was reported missing to the Abbotsford Police Department on Sunday, July 30 at 10:15 p.m. She had last been seen at around 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 27 at the McDonald’s restaurant at Bourquin Crescent West and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford.
IHIT investigating death of 22 yo Chelsey GAUTHIER of Abbotsford. Last seen on July 27. Not btb random. Have info? Call IHIT. pic.twitter.com/6xfg5mmBZ7— IHIT (@HomicideTeam) August 25, 2017
At the time of her disappearance, police said she was known to frequent locations in central Abbotsford. She had not been active on social media for several days, and her friends and family were very concerned, police said.
A friend of Gauthier provided regular updates on Facebook, saying on Aug. 1 that police and helicopters had searched a “large, vast area” in which there was “strong evidence” that Gauthier was located.
The friend posted that the searches and the investigation continued for several days. Her last post, on Aug. 13, indicated that Gauthier had still not been found.
Her next post is dated today at 11 a.m., stating, “Chelsey Gauthier has been located. No further information that I am able to disclose may be posted online yet.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up by a cousin of Gauthier’s to help with funeral expenses.
“We don’t know what happened to her, all we know is she’s gone and we will never have the chance to see her again,” the page states.
Gauthier’s dad, Ray, posted a YouTube video today titled “A sad message regarding my baby Chelsey Gauthier,” saying the death was not accidental.
“Somebody did this to her, and the police are working on it right now,” he said.
He said he plans to start a foundation in Gauthier’s name to address “drug awareness,” blaming marijuana for her death.
“It killed my daughter … Her life was taken because of this stuff.”
Ray did not elaborate on these statements.
Investigators have asked that anyone with information call the IHIT information line at 1-877-551-IHIT, email email@example.com, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.