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Hundreds spoken to in Duncan homicide inquiry

Jan 21 2012

One year after the killing of Tyeshia Jones, homicide investigators continue to work on the case, interviewing hundreds of people and gathering evidence.

Detectives from the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit have remained tight-lipped to protect the integrity of the investigation.

Police have not released the cause of death or said whether they have any suspects. They have never said whether the killing was targeted or random.

"The investigation remains active, and progress continues to be made toward identifying the person or persons responsible for Tyeshia's murder," Island district RCMP spokesman Cpl. Darren Lagan said in an email. "Investigators have spoken to hundreds of people in relation to this case."

Lagan would not give details of persons of interest or what kinds of statements have been made to police.

The RCMP asked Seattle police for the phone records of a young man from Spokane, Washington, to whom Jones sent pictures via text message on Jan. 20, two days before her murder. The man has not been charged and police said it is routine to talk to everyone who communicated with Jones.

Lagan said rampant speculation around Jones's death threatened to hamper the investigation in the early days. "The issue of Facebook rumours, as well as highly speculative reporting by some news outlets in the early days of this case, did present some challenges for the investigators," Lagan said, adding, "Those issues resolved themselves quickly."

Jones's mother, Mary Jim, occasionally calls investigators, partly to assure herself they are still doggedly working on the case and partly in the faint hope she will get answers.

"They always ask me if I have questions and I say, 'Yes, I do, but you won't be able to answer them,'" she said. The people who do claim to have answers are armchair detectives who come to her with wild, often hurtful theories about Jones's death.

"I had one cab driver tell me she was chopped up into pieces," Jim said, her voice breaking. "I said that to the RCMP and they said, 'No she wasn't chopped up.' "

Jim said she thinks she knows who is responsible for Tyeshia's murder but will not accuse anyone publicly. "I want to point fingers, but then again, I don't want it to be wrong, so I keep it to myself," she said.

Through donations, the family has raised $12,000 as a reward for anyone who provides information that leads to a conviction.

Jim worries that teenagers who want to do the right thing are hampered by a reluctance to be labelled "snitches."

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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