A murder charge has now been laid in the death of Rachel Pernosky, three years after the teen mom was found dumped in a rural area.
Pernosky, 18, was last seen on March 16, 2013 at her home in Mission, B.C. Her disappearance was out of character, prompting a missing person's report to police. Three days later, her body was found at the bottom of an embankment in Chilliwack.
On Monday, homicide investigators announced that her half-brother, Matthew Jacob Pernosky, has been charged with second-degree murder and "indignity to a body by having sexual contact with and disposing of the body."
The 31-year-old was arrested on Friday "without incident," said a news release from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.
"It was quickly determined that this incident was not random and a suspect was identified in the early stages," said IHIT Staff-Sgt. Jennifer Pound of the three-year investigation.
Young son left behind
Pernosky's family released a statement Monday, remembering her as a "strong and beautiful young woman." They mentioned her son, who was about a year old when she disappeared.
"Her senseless murder has left behind a young boy who will never know his mother and will one day need answers to questions that he should never have to ask," said the statement.
"It is excruciating to not have Rachel in our lives any longer and what makes this more difficult is knowing that an estranged family member has been charged with her murder."
Full statement from Rachel Pernosky's family:
We are very grateful and relieved that an arrest has been made in connection with Rachel's murder.
Rachel was a mother, daughter, sister, and friend. Rachel's absence from our lives has left many broken hearts and great devastation. She is missed and remembered each and every day. She was a strong and beautiful young woman with her whole life ahead of her. Our sweet Rachel will never have the opportunity to live out her dreams; she didn't deserve this.
Her senseless murder has left behind a young boy who will never know his mother and will one day need answers to questions that he should never have to ask.
We would like to thank the investigators at IHIT who have worked tirelessly to achieve justice for Rachel. It is excruciating to not have Rachel in our lives any longer and what makes this more difficult is knowing that an estranged family member has been charged with her murder. There are no words to describe the pain we are feeling or the difficulty we are facing with processing all of this. For this, we ask for privacy and thank you for allowing us to tell you about who Rachel was in life and the deep void we all feel with her gone. You will never be forgotten Rachel.