When C.J. Fowler was murdered in Kamloops last week, the 16-year-old was hours away from returning to Terrace.
Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt. Grant Learned said investigators have learned Fowler, whose body was found on an embankment in Guerin Creek on Dec. 5, had purchased a bus ticket home for later that day.
She had been in Kamloops since Dec. 1, police believe, spending time couch-surfing with friends in the Tournament Capital.
Learned said investigators have interviewed many of those acquaintances, as well as a male companion with whom Fowler is believed to have travelled to Kamloops.
Eight detectives are working full-time to find out what happened to Fowler.
“It’s still very, very active,” Learned said.
“The homicide investigators have characterized the investigation as proceeding favourably.”
According to Learned, police are working more than 200 leads — the result of public tips and interviews.
Investigators have narrowed their interest to the period between midnight and 8 a.m. on Dec. 5.
Police are asking anyone in the Guerin Creek area who saw or heard anything suspicious during those hours to contact them.
Additionally, Learned said, Mounties are hoping someone in the Grandview Terrace and Dalgleish Drive areas with a home-security surveillance system might have caught useful evidence on tape.
An autopsy was completed last week, but police are still waiting on toxicology results, which aren’t expected for a period of weeks.
Describing Fowler as “a troubled youth,” Learned said she was known to have used drugs and investigators want to know if drugs played a role in her death.
Mounties are not saying publicly how Fowler was killed.
“There’s a lot of information that’s not being disclosed,” Learned said.
“It’s very important to maintain the integrity of the investigation.”
Kamloops Mounties have said Fowler was a missing person at the time of her death, but it’s not known from where she was missing.
Terrace RCMP have said she was not the subject of a missing-person complaint there.
Learned said Fowler let friends and family in Terrace know she was going to Kamloops.
“It was to come down and see friends,” he said.
“That was the reason she had given.”
Gitsan First Nation hereditary Chief Simidiiks is Fowler’s great-uncle and told CTV her death may be connected to drugs.
“If this is related to drugs, I would like to pass the message on to other drug users to try and find a way to get away from this drug business and become a person who would think safe and no longer get hooked on that stuff.”
Police believe Fowler knew her killer.
“In reality, there is someone who is responsible for her death that is still out and about in the community,” Learned said.
“But, the investigators don’t believe there is a broader threat. If there was, we have a responsibility to communicate that to the community.”
Anyone with information, or area residents with video surveillance, is asked to contact police at 250-828-3000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.