The 18-year-old whose body was found in a parking lot on the Tk’emlúps reserve last weekend was a student at Sa-Hali secondary.
The body of Jagraj Dhinsa was found on Jan. 29 in a shared parking lot of St. Joseph’s Church and Cemetery and Quemtsin Health Society at the end of Chilcotin Road, where it turns into Kamloopa Way.
Police say his death is a homicide.
On Thursday, Feb. 3, once police had confirmed Dhinsa was the homicide victim, Sa-Hali secondary principal Rachael Sdoutz sent a letter to all parents of students attending the school.
The letter reads, in part, “In response to this upsetting news, our school, in consultation with our School District #73 support team, has implemented a plan that allows students an opportunity to talk about their thoughts and feelings with professional staff. To access these services, families may contact the school office and a time will be arranged for your student to meet with a member of our counselling department as soon as possible.”
The RCMP’s Southeast District major crime unit said it will not disclose how Dhinsa died to protect the integrity of the investigation, but noted when officers arrived at the parking lot on the morning of Jan. 29, it was apparent Dhinsa had sustained “obvious injuries.”
RCMP Insp. Brent Novakoski said police released Dhinsa’s name to help with the investigation. Anybody who had contact with Dhinsa, or knows where he was, on Jan. 28 or Jan. 29 is asked to call 1-877-987-8477.
Police say evidence found near Dhinsa’s body linked him to a black 2014 Honda Accord that police later found and seized on Dallas Drive at Lafarge Road in Kamloops.
“In investigations like this, early tips and information from the public can be crucial,” Novakoski said. “We are reaching out to the public and asking them to please provide us with any video surveillance, cellphone or dash-cam footage in the Chilcotin Road area to Lafarge Road at Dallas Drive in Kamloops from the afternoon of Jan. 28 until the morning of Jan. 29.”
Various police agencies and units, including Kamloops RCMP, are investigating the death. The BC Coroners Service is conducting a concurrent investigation.
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Kúkpi7 (Chief) Roseanne Casimir said the band’s condolences are with Dhinsa’s family.
“Our members were distressed with the major incident on our Indian reserve and we appreciate the collaborative efforts to ensure that there was no immediate threat to those residing in the areas,” Casimir said in a release.