A missing Port Moody woman revealed over the weekend to have been found dead has left her family in a state of shock, reeling in its search for answers.
Last Saturday, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) announced it had identified the remains of 48-year-old Trina Hunt.
But for the Hunt family, police broke the devastating news the night before, said Stephanie Ibbott, who speaks on behalf of the family.
“There’s just no real way to understand or grasp the reality of what happened,” she said in an interview with the Tri-City News. “I think we’re still processing the shock.”
Police say a body was found in the Silver Creek area of Hope on March 29, a small community on the south side of the Trans Canada Highway.
Roughly a month after discovering the unidentified remains, IHIT said it had worked with the BC Coroners Service to determine they are the missing Port Moody woman. The homicide unit, which takes over in the case of suspected foul play, is treating the death as a murder investigation.
Hunt was reportedly last seen in her Port Moody home on the morning of Jan. 18 when her husband left for work. Her disappearance triggered a massive community search scouring her neighbourhood’s streets and forested trails.
But no trace of the woman was ever confirmed — until this week.
Police have yet to name any suspects in Hunt's death. In the meantime, Ibbott said the community has once again come together to show its support.
That’s come in the form of a makeshift memorial in front of the late woman’s Port Moody house, something that took off after a close friend lay purple tulips, Hunt’s favourite, on her front lawn. By Tuesday, dozens of flowers dropped off from family, friends and former co-workers crowded the front lawn of the Heritage Mountain home.
Others, like Anmore’s Cindy Hite, didn’t know Hunt, though she was among the first wave of community volunteers to fan out in search of the missing woman.
“I just feel that this has impacted the community so profoundly that we’re all feeling it,” said Hite as she dropped off flowers. “It’s touched me very deeply. You feel hopeless at this point. I guess we’ll just see how this story unfolds, just hold the family in our prayers. That’s all we can do.”
For the Hunt family, the grieving — something made more difficult by COVID-19 restrictions — is intertwined with the family’s ongoing search for answers.
Police have yet to provide details into their ongoing investigation. That has fuelled speculation and an amateur army of online sleuths to track down the circumstances surrounding Hunt’s death.
And while Ibbott says she appreciates people doing whatever they can to help, the family is urging anyone looking to keep Trina Hunt's memory alive to donate to a GoFundMe campaign set up to find Shaelene Bell, a missing 23-year-old mother-of-two from Chilliwack.
"We recognize there are other families going through something similar," said Ibbott.
By May 4, at least $3,500 had been donated in Hunt's memory, bringing the total to more than $10,000.
'WE WANT JUSTICE'
Ibbott said she respects that police are doing doing their best to solve the case, and the fact that they found Hunt is the most important thing.
Still, she said, months of looking for a loved one has left the family drained and the staggered release of information has only elevated their sorrow and frustration to a new level.
“Everything is very confusing,” said Ibbott. “It’s just a new level of anticipation and anger.”
“We want to know why? How? We want justice for Trina.”
• Anyone with information related to Trina Hunt’s death is asked to contact the IHIT information line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymous tipsters can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).