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Digital sleuths and patchy information: A timeline into Trina Hunt’s death

A timeline into Trina's death

A timeline of events leading up to the revelation that Trina Hunt’s body was found in Hope, B.C. at the end of March — more than two months after she went missing — shows how much devastation her disappearance caused her family and friends.

Now a memorial of flowers, photos and candles is growing outside her Heritage Mountain home.

The timeline shows Port Moody police stopped issuing press releases a month after the 48-year-old woman went missing, however, for at least two months after her disappearance, there were vigils, unfurling of a missing persons banner and the continuation of community searches.

In addition to the family’s efforts, Hunt’s disappearance generated huge interest from community members who used social media to both raise awareness and speculate on what happened in the case.

At least two websites, an unofficial sub-Reddit, several YouTube videos and an unofficial Facebook group were started to discuss the case. Several websites have also been set up in the late woman’s name, one set up only three days before Hunt was announced dead, is run by roughly a dozen amateur digital sleuths galvanized by the circumstances surrounding Hunt’s disappearance.

Jenn Lamont, who leads the group, said they have collectively dedicated thousands of hours to piecing together evidence and confirming rumours. Lamont says the group even travelled out to Hope to search for the missing woman last month (police had already recovered Hunt’s remains but had not yet publicly identified them).

“I never have been involved in something like this,” said Lamont, who used to live in the Tri-Cities and shared several mutual friends with Hunt. “None of us could shake it.”

Lamont says her and her group’s sleuthing hasn’t come without risk, and she says she has been subject to a number of anonymous threats.

“I get a lot of ‘oh, I’m watching you,’” she said.

It’s not likely such armchair sleuths, nor the social media speculation that surrounds their work will come to an end despite the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team revealing May 1 that remains found in Hope, south of Silver Creek are that of missing Port Moody woman Trina Hunt.

Family spokesperson Stephanie Ibbot, who has been in contact with Lamont and helped verify some of the information they collected, says she and the rest of Hunt’s family appreciate both the outpouring of support and efforts to get to the bottom of what happened. At the same time, she’s worried others offering hot takes on YouTube and not connected to the community could do more harm than good.

“We’re just trying to do things one step at a time and wait. We don’t want to get lost in speculation. It’s not a safe,” said Ibbot.

At the same time, Hunt’s family is not letting up in their push for justice.

Ibbott added: “We continue to fight. Because we found Trina but we still don’t have any answers.”

As the investigation is has now transitioned into a case of homicide, and is active and ongoing, police said no further details will be provided at this time.

However, anyone with information is asked to contact the IHIT Information Line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or by email at [email protected]

Those who wish to remain anonymous, can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Here’s a compilation of activities since Trina Hunt went missing:

Jan. 18 - Trina Hunt is reported missing, Port Moody police begin investigation.

Jan. 19 - Port Moody police issue public plea for help in locating 48-year-old Trina Hunt who was reported last seen by her husband at 6 a.m. Monday, Jan. 18. Massive community search underway, with the support of Coquitlam Search and Rescue combing the area near her Heritage Woods home and and RCMP helicopter and a canine unit contributing to the search effort.

Jan. 21 - Port Moody Police Department (PMPD) seeks dash cam footage of the area for the hours of 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 18. Community ground search called off, family issues a statement via police thanking community members for supporting them in the search to find Trina.

IN JANUARY, PORT MOODY POLICE REPORT FOUL PLAY IS NOT SUSPECTED

Jan. 22 - Police issue two media releases: one stating there are no updates from overnight. “The investigation into the disappearance of Trina Hunt is active and ongoing.” Another that says Trina’s family has been cooperative and “foul play is not suspected.”

Jan. 25 - PMPD send Tri-City News a statement via email that there is no specific update on the missing Trina Hunt case. “We will not be discussing future investigational steps.”

Jan. 27 - Family posts a video on Facebook containing photos and a description of the 48-year-old woman on Facebook, asking people to share it widely.

FEBRUARY

Feb. 7 - Coquitlam RCMP ask people to stop spreading information about abductions on social media. Speculation that concerns about missing Trina Hunt and a Chilliwack woman are creating a climate of fear.

Feb. 17 - PMPD say via a statement that they contacted the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, responsible for cases where foul play is suspected. However,“this missing person case does not meet IHIT’s mandate.”

Feb. 28 - a GoFundMe page is set up to cover the costs in continuing to search for Trina. It is currently at $22,285.

MARCH

March 1 - Family of Trina Hunt holds a press conference to display a missing persons banner on the Murray Street overpass in Port Moody. “Our anguish is unbearable. It is simply impossible to function at times,” said Hunt’s cousin-in-law Stephanie Ibbott.

March 20, 21 - Family and friends re-start community searches of the Heritage Mountain area for Trina Hunt.

March 29 - A body is found in Hope; Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) reveals that human remains have been recovered in the area south of Silver Creek and it will be working with forensic services and the B.C. Coroners Service to gather evidence. No reference is made to Trina Hunt.

APRIL

April 18 - A special livestream vigil is held on Facebook for Trina Hunt, to mark three months since her disappearance, with participants encouraged to light a candle.

MAY

May 1 - IHIT reveals the remains found in Hope have been identified as being those of Trina Hunt. It states that foul play is suspected in her death and it is working with the Port Moody police to further the investigation.

“The missing person investigation of Trina Hunt has now transitioned into a case of homicide,” stated Sgt Frank Jang of IHIT in a statement to the Tri-City News. “As this is an active and ongoing investigation, there will be no further details provided at this time.”

May 5 - Police have not revealed any further information.



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