Every death has a big impact on the tiny and isolated First Nations community of Kingcome Inlet.
The death of Elizabeth (Beth) Lagis is no exception. The 33-year-old mother from Kingcome was found dead, just south of Campbell River on the morning of March 9.
According to RCMP, her body was found by a passing motorist, just off the southbound lane of the Inland Highway, 1.5 kilometres south of Hamm Road.
For now, the cause of the death is unknown after an autopsy proved inconclusive and police are saying little about the case. The B.C. Coroner’s office is still investigating the cause of death, and the results could take some time.
In the meantime, the family is still trying to come to terms with her death.
“It’s unbelievable. I still can’t believe she’s gone,” said her older brother Percy, during a phone interview Wednesday. “It’s hard to lose anyone here. It affects the whole community.”
Percy said his sister was a valued member of Kingcome Inlet, located on the Central Coast, which has a population of about 100 people.
Lagis worked part-time at the village council office, helped care for her mother, took part in the fishing activities, and spent most of her time caring for her 14-year-old daughter Sarita.
“Sarita’s taking time to heal,” said Percy. “My sister was just awesome. She helped preserve food for the family, she helped with the fishing; smoking fish, canning them. She loved to eat crab. She could eat crab all week. She was a big part of the community and I’m going to really miss her.”
The family believes someone knows what happened to her, but the case remains a mystery.
Lagis arrived in Campbell River for medical appointments on March 6-7. She arrived for the appointment the first day, but never showed up for the second.
On the night of March 6, she called family back in Kingcome from her room at the Town Centre Inn, and that was the last time they ever heard from her.
Police are trying to find out what she did between 10:30 p.m. on March 6, and 2 a.m. on March 7.
If anyone witnessed anything unusual on the highway, or saw Lagis, they should contact the RCMP at 250-286-6221 or Crime Stoppers.