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Police find body believed to be missing Duncan teen

Tyeshia Jones was reported missing on Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 Duncan, B.C.

RCMP handout/RCMP handout

The body of a young woman found Friday in a wooded area in Duncan, B.C. is believed to be 18-year-old Tyeshia Jones, who has been missing since last Saturday.

Police suspect foul play in her death and anticipate the disturbing discovery will send a shock wave through the community, Corporal Kevin Day of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP said Friday in a news release.

Her family thought Ms. Jones was spending last Friday night at a friend's residence. However, at some point during the night, she left there and walked along August Road to meet a friend at Duncan's Superstore.

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The friend, who police have not identified, received a text message around 3 a.m. from Ms. Jones as she was making her way to the store. But she never arrived.

Nearly 100 police officers and search-and-rescue technicians were involved in an intensive ground and air search over the past week. Her cellphone was discovered outside the Yuthuythut Adult Learning Centre, which is located on the way to the Superstore.

Ms. Jones, who was five-foot-four, with long black hair and braces on her teeth, was a member of the Cowichan Tribes. Chief Lydia Hwitsum made a public appeal for help earlier this week. "Our community is devastated and we need to draw back on our roots of support as a community and pull together in both good and bad times," she told a news conference.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo also appealed for help in the search for the teenager. "The AFN is always concerned when we hear reports of missing first nation women and girls because this happens far too often," he told the news conference.

Corporal Day said police have not yet received official confirmation of the identity of the body or the cause of death. Police were with Ms. Jones's family Friday afternoon, waiting for word from the B.C. Coroner's Service.

Several members of the Cowichan Tribes were also with Ms. Jones's family members. They were unavailable for an interview, said staff at the Cowichan Tribes office.

Duncan, a city of some 5,000 people about 50 kilometres from both Victoria to the south and Nanaimo to the north, is adjacent to the Cowichan Tribes reserve, which has about 6,000 people.

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Duncan Mayor Phil Kent said the city is "absolutely safe." He said violent incidents are rare, recalling one about a year ago when a women's body was found in a wooded area, badly burnt. However, police have not linked the two incidents, he said.

Candice Innes, the 30-year-old manager at Duncan's White Spot on the Trans-Canada Highway, said she has always felt safe in Duncan, no matter where she has been. But, she added, she would not go out walking alone late at night.

Ben Brown, executive chef at the City Square Grill, said Duncan is "one of the better places in the world to live." He felt comfortable raising his two daughters in the city, he said.

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