Relatives of 23-year-old Kasandra Bolduc of northeastern Ontario are calling on police to start a homicide investigation after learning the woman's body was discovered in a bag in the Toronto Harbour in May.
Bolduc was declared missing last November and was last heard from on Sept. 28, 2012.
The body was discovered at the foot of Yonge Street in the waters of Lake Ontario on May 22, 2013, and was recovered by Toronto police's marine unit.
"At this time the waters were very cold and they cannot pinpoint a time the body was put into the lake," Det. Sgt. Ian McArthur said.
Since then, police have followed many leads, but the investigation has hit a brick wall. At a news conference Friday, officers appealed to the public for any information that could help police determine how Bolduc died.
"As small as that info may seem both to the public and investigators, the family of Kasandra Bolduc will be very grateful," McArthur said.
'There really are bad people out there'
"Nobody knew this was going to happen," said a relative, whose name is being withheld for security reasons.
The woman said she's still in shock.
"You see this on TV. You don’t think it’s going to happen to your life, to your family. There really are bad people out there who do those kinds of things."
Many of Bolduc's relatives still reside in Sudbury and Elliot Lake, both cities where she once lived.
The relative said she'd like to see Toronto police consider the case a homicide.
"She didn't put herself in a bag, and she didn't jump in the lake," she said. "In my mind, she was stolen. And someone did that to her. All I can do is wait and hope and pray that part of her life gets justice."
Toronto street pastor Doug Johnson Hatlem believes Bolduc may have been homeless and involved with the sex trade.
'We place the value in society on different forms of human life.' —Toronto street pastor Doug Johnson Hatlem
"Toronto seems like a bit of a place, a sanctuary for anonymity for getting away from whatever hard situation you're in and starting a new life," he said.
"Unfortunately, it didn't turn out to be that kind of place for her."
Hatlem said he doesn’t feel police are taking the case seriously enough.
"She's either a pawn in some larger sting that they won't say publicly what’s happening, or, like in so many cases across Canada, police don't do their jobs properly," he said.
Johnson Hatlem added police should treat cases of rape, abuse and murder as top priority.
"If a wealthy white male disappears or turns up missing in a bag, that's something police take seriously," he explained.
"If someone who's female, who's poor, who's in the sex trade.… We place the value in society on different forms of human life."
'Lifestyle has no bearing'
Toronto police tried to address these complaints in Friday's news conference.
"Her lifestyle has no bearing on our investigation whatsoever," McArthur said. "We consider every death to be held in the highest regard and we put every effort into furthering the investigation to their fullest."
Toronto police say they've been in Sudbury speaking with people who knew Bolduc.
Police have also confirmed that the remains are Bolduc's because of the distinctive tattoos on her body.
Bolduc had a heart tattoo between the thumb and index finger on her left hand with a poorly-drawn "K" in it. She also had a tattoo on her right abdomen and a tattoo on her upper thigh.
Sudbury police said they are not investigating this case.
Toronto police would like anyone with information about the case to call investigators at 416-808-1400, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.