Jennifer Catcheway last contacted her family on June 19, 2008. Police are now treating her disappearance as a homicide. ((Police handout))

The search for a Portage la Prairie teen missing since last year is now a homicide investigation, Manitoba RCMP have confirmed.

Jennifer Catcheway was reported missing in June 2008 after failing to arrive at her 19th birthday party.

The young woman's family continued searching for her as late as a week ago, but told local media they feared their daughter was dead.

An aboriginal women's group, Ikwe-Widdjiitiwin, held a seven-hour vigil at the Manitoba legislature in July 2008 to draw attention to the case.

Earlier this summer, Manitoba's top justice officials announced a task force to investigate the disappearance and murder of aboriginal women.