Relatives of 22-year-old Kasandra Bolduc of northeastern Ontario are calling on police to start a homicide investigation after learning the woman's body was discovered in a bag in the Toronto Harbour in May.
Bolduc had been missing since November 2012.
“Nobody knew this was going to happen,” said a relative, whose name is being withheld for security reasons.
The woman said she’s still in shock.
“You see this on TV. You don’t think it’s going to happen to your life, to your family. There really are bad people out there who do those kinds of things.”
Many of Bolduc’s relatives still reside in Sudbury and Elliot Lake, both cities where she once lived.
The relative said she’d like to see Toronto Police consider the case a homicide.
“She didn’t put herself in a bag, and she didn’t jump in the lake,” she said. “In my mind, she was stolen. And someone did that to her. All I can do is wait and hope and pray that part of her life gets justice.
Toronto street pastor Doug Johnson Hatlem said he knew Bolduc and added she may have been homeless and involved with the sex trade.
“Toronto seems like a bit of a place, a sanctuary for anonymity for getting away from whatever hard situation you’re in and starting a new life,” he said.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be that kind of place for her.”
Hatlem said he doesn’t feel police are taking the case seriously enough.
“She’s either a pawn in some larger sting that they won’t say publically what’s happening, or, like in so many cases across Canada, police don’t do their jobs properly,” he said.
Johnson Hatlem added police should treat cases of rape, abuse and murder as top priority.
“If a wealthy white male disappears or turns up missing in a bag, that’s something police take seriously,” he explained.
“If someone who’s female, who’s poor, who’s in the sex trade … we place the value in society on different forms of human life.”
Toronto Police say they've been in Sudbury speaking with people who knew Bolduc.
CBC News has learned police told the family that the body found was believed to be Bolduc, but they couldn't be 100 per cent sure because the body was too decomposed to determine a positive identification.
But they've said they're quite sure it's Bolduc because of tattoos on her body.
Bolduc had a heart tattoo between the thumb and index finger on her left hand with a poorly-drawn "K" in it. She also had a tattoo on her right abdomen and a tattoo on her upper thigh.