Search for missing Courtenay girl ends in tragedy

Comox Valley RCMP confirmed a tragic end Monday to the search for Candice Shields, a Courtenay girl who left her residence Sunday.

Comox Valley RCMP confirmed a tragic end Monday to the search for Candice Shields, a Courtenay girl who left her residence Sunday.

Monday afternoon, police confirmed Shields’ death, and added that, although the investigation is continuing, foul play is not suspected.

Comox Valley RCMP Const. Don Sinclair confirmed Tuesday the coroner is now involved.

Shields, a student at G.P. Vanier school, was initially reported missing Sunday around 4:30 p.m. after she left her home on Panorama Crescent.

RCMP, with Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue

and a helicopter hovering over the area around Queneesh Elementary School in East Courtenay searched for her Monday.

On their website, School District 71 administration is offering their thoughts and best wishes to Shields’ family and friends, and noted a variety of support systems are in place for students.

“We hope that you will look to your families, teachers, counsellors and friends for support during this difficult time. Support will be available at the Vanier school site throughout this week,” they wrote.

Roger Kishi, program director/health partnerships of the Wachiay Friendship Centre, said a suicide prevention program previously offered by Crossroads Crisis Centre began just last week throughout the three Comox Valley high schools.

“We spent a year trying to find funding and it just started this year working with the school district. (The Wachiay Friendship Centre) hired a facilitator to deliver the program in schools,” he noted.

Kishi added while the program is not a suicide response program, the sessions are aimed at youth in Grades 8 to 12.

“It teaches students about suicide awareness, and to inform youth to watch for the signs of suicide, and to report them to a responsible adult,” he said.

Working in conjunction with a variety of groups and associations in the area, School District 71 is hosting Community Support for Families: An Information Evening to Look at Resources Available for Families in the Comox Valley.

The event, scheduled for Nov. 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the gym in Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School, is to provide parents of adolescents with an introduction to the community resource groups in the area. The evening will feature introductions about the services, presentations and offer time for questions.

Groups attending the event include the Aboriginal Education Centre, Ministry of Children and Family Development Mental Heath Team and St. Joseph’s Hospital Adolescent Mental Health Team members.

A Comox Valley Suicide Awareness Facebook page has also been created for students and members of the public to share thoughts and resources.

For more information on the School District 71 event, visit www.gpvanier.ca.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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