The discovery of remains confirmed to be those of Madison Scott has sent a shock wave through the community, Vanderhoof mayor Keven Moutray says.
"It's devastating news, it's not the outcome that anybody was wanting so it's a real shock to the system," Moutray said in a telephone interview on Monday.
Like most people, Moutray learned the news on Monday morning, and to the day that her disappearance was first reported a dozen years ago.
She was last seen during the early morning of May 28, 2011 at Hogsback Lake, southeast of Vanderhoof, where she had been celebrating a friend's birthday.
A high-profile "Find Maddy" campaign was soon launched. Replete with billboards, bumper stickers and a fair amount of media coverage over the years, it has kept her disappearance in the public eye since then.
That persistence appears to have paid off.
"I really commend the group that was leading the charge on that and keeping her front and centre in all our minds," Moutray said.
He said the police contacted him directly, "but with no more information than what's in the press release," he said.
The Scott family has been advised and they have asked for privacy, RCMP have said.
"Obviously, it is a change in the healing journey for the Scott family and we will make sure that the community is there for them as we are for everybody," Moutray said. "But we will be there for them and help them through these difficult next stages."
Nechako-Lakes MLA John Rustad greeted the news with mixed emotions.
"I was always holding out hope that maybe she'd be found alive," Rustad said. "Quite frankly, I really feel for the family, it being such an ordeal over the years."
Other than to say a rural property on the east side of Vanderhoof has been secured, police provided few details. But they did say foul play has not been ruled out.
"I think the police need to be given the room to do what they need to do to get those answers and hopefully they'll be able to do that in an expedient way," Rustad said. "There are lots of unanswered questions along Highway 16 as well and I hope this will help at least bring closure for the family and perhaps answer some broader questions as well."
Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty called the news "absolutely heartbreaking."
"Even after all these years, you hold out hope that Madison comes walking through the door or she's found alive...and still there will always be these questions as to why and what happened and I think we have to remind ourselves that this is still an ongoing investigation," Doherty said.
The family has offered a $100,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and laying of charges of those responsible for her disappearance.
Anyone with any information is asked to call (778) 290-5291 or (877) 543-4822