Body found near car of missing Saanich woman

Comox Valley RCMP confirm a body was found Wednesday evening at the base of Mount Washington.

Comox Valley RCMP has found a body at the base of Mount Washington Wednesday evening near the car of missing Saanich woman Shirley Burstall, but have not confirmed the identity.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Andrew Isles said around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, RCMP were shutting down their command post and were planning to resume the search for 75-year-old Burstall Saturday, when their police dog picked up a scent.

“As a result of that, our general investigation section was called in, and what we’ve located is an older female in the woods,” he explained. “At this time, we cannot make a positive identification but we are out here in this area today looking for Ms. Burstall.”

Isles added RCMP have to ensure they make a positive identification, but noted, “there is every indication this could possibly be the woman we are looking for.”

Burstall’s car was found late Monday afternoon on a road off of the Strathcona Parkway leading to Mount Washington, prompting an extensive search for the woman, who was last seen April 5 at a Ladysmith gas station.

Isles said the area where the body was discovered was part of the search area, but due to the difficult terrain, it wouldn’t have been impossible to miss the body.

He added it is too early to tell how long the body may have been in the woods.

“Our investigators have been in contact with the Saanich police who have been in contact with the Burstall family in Victoria. Again, we’re not able to make a positive identification, but wanted to alert them that we had found a woman that could possibly be their loved one,” he said.

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