B.C. community on edge after slaying

Taylor Van Diest, 18, is shown here getting ready for her 2011 high school prom in Armstrong, B.C. ...

Taylor Van Diest, 18, is shown here getting ready for her 2011 high school prom in Armstrong, B.C. Van Diest was found unconscious near a set of railroad tracks on Oct. 31, 2011, Halloween night, in her Zombie costume. (H0)

KRISTY BROWNLEE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:38 PM ET

Residents of a tight-knit B.C. community are on edge because of the unsolved slaying of an 18-year-old woman on Halloween night.

Friends and family found Taylor Van Diest unconscious and severely injured steps away from a railway track in the north Okanagan community of Armstrong.

She died a short time later at a Kelowna hospital.

More than 30 officers are working to retrace the recent high school graduate's steps in the hours before she was found Monday. Information has been reported to police, but no suspects have yet been identified, RCMP spokesman Gord Moldendyk said.

"We're hoping to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible to put the minds of the residents of this community at ease," Moldendyk said at a press conference.

Mayor Chris Pieper said the unsolved murder has left a "sombre feeling over the whole community just not knowing how it happened."

RCMP said Van Diest was going to a Halloween party. Her family became concerned when she was late.

A stranger called the Van Diest family when they found Taylor's cellphone near the tracks, shortly before loved ones found her.

Pieper said it's "very unusual" no one saw anything, because the railway tracks where Van Diest was found is a popular shortcut, lined by homes, and Halloween is a busy night in the community.

Residents have been advised to travel in groups and report anything suspicious.

Van Diest graduated from high school in June, alongside her twin sister Kirstie, and is remembered by friends as smiley and high-spirited.

No cause of death has been determined. The autopsy is scheduled for Thursday, RCMP said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.


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