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Grisly discovery shakes up community

Autopsy results on the unidentified body found on Bowen Island are expected later this week. The decomposed remains were found by Mike Braraten who was walking through his property when he detected a bad odour.

Autopsy results on the unidentified body found on Bowen Island are expected later this week. The decomposed remains were found by Mike Braraten who was walking through his property when he detected a bad odour. Braraten told media outlets that, alarmed by the smell, he searched the bushes, stumbled upon the body and immediately dialed up the local police department.

"We were called to Harding Road around 2 p.m. on Friday by the man who found the remains and deemed the death to be suspicious," says Cpl. Nancy Joyce of the Bowen Island RCMP Detachment.

Two days before the body was found, Lloyd Harding was walking his neighbour's dog down Harding Road, just metres from where the body was found, when he noticed something strange, "I knew something was off because the dog tried to drag me into the bush. I pulled her back thinking it was a dead deer and didn't want to get into that mess." Harding didn't give it a second thought until Saturday morning when television news reports knocked on his door asking for his reaction.

With microphones in his face and cameras rolling, Harding says his first reaction was shock but it has since become dread and concern, "it's unnerving to have this on the island but we'll just have to let the police figure out who it is and how they died." One witness told news reporters that the head of the body was covered with a plastic bag and that the body was wearing dark coloured clothing and black Nike shoes. Those reports are unconfirmed by the RCMP.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is working closely with Bowen Island RCMP but the death is not being called a homicide at this point. RCMP say victim identification and how long the body has been out in the bush are expected to be confirmed by the autopsy.

The gruesome discovery has shaken up Bowen's small and tight-knit community. It was just three years ago that the island was the focus of a missing person's investigation after the disappearance of Jodi Henrickson. The 17-year-old was last seen at a party on Harding Road in June 2009 - a coincidence that has prompted some to speculate that the body found could be hers but police say the state of decomposition in this case points them to believe otherwise; "I am 99 per cent sure this is not Jodi's body but the autopsy will answer the questions we have," says Cpl. Joyce.

Anyone with information regarding this suspicious death is asked to contact the IHIT tipline by calling 1-877-551-IHIT or by email at ihittipline@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.