Police in Labrador said on Saturday a first-degree murder charge has been laid over the death of a woman found in a wooded area in Sheshatshiu.

The RCMP say Gordon Milley, 30, has been charged with the murder of Bernice Rich, 21.

Rich was originally from Natuashish, but had been living for some time in Sheshatshiu.

Milley was arrested on Friday afternoon. He is being held in custody, and is scheduled to appear in provincial court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Monday at 1:30 p.m.

The RCMP called in major crimes and forensics investigators from St. John's to help with the investigation, which the force said is still ongoing.

Officials said that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is working with the investigation.

Friends and family mourn

Julianna Pijogge can't believe her cousin Bernice Rich is gone. She said a lot of young people in Natuashish are still coming to terms with the loss of a friend and family member.

"It's a hard thing. Can't believe it's happening like this. And I'm still in shock, too," said Pijogge. "She was not a mean girl. She was just a friendly friend with everybody."

"Everybody's just mad, angry, depressed, sad, lonely. And that's how it is today in Natuashish," she told CBC News.

As people grieved they also remembered Rich as someone who was always smiling.

Friends say she loved children and struggled to deal with the loss of her mother a couple of years ago.

Pijogge said through it all Rich kept laughing.

"To remember her as a friend … [it was] all about her smiles, her jokes," said Pijogge.