The mother of a young woman whose body was found on the banks of the Nicomekl River in South Surrey nearly seven years ago says she still doesn’t know what happened in the last days and moments of Ashley Chauvin’s life, or why someone decided to dump the 20-year-old’s body at that location.
But Carmen Perron hasn’t given up hope that whoever has those details will come forward.
This week, from her home in Subdury, Ont., Perron appealed once again for answers, hoping the passage of time may be enough to sway those who have kept silent, regardless of their initial motivation for doing so.
“As much as time has passed, maybe somebody knows something, they were afraid to say something (at the time) and the person that they’re afraid of moved away or whatever, and now they’d be more apt to say something,” Perron told Peace Arch News Thursday.
“Maybe, after this many years now… somebody will feel gutsy enough or feel remorse, or whatever.”
Chauvin’s body was found on a walking path adjacent to the river on Thursday, July 19, 2012, by a man who was in the area scoping out fishing spots. It was the same day that a friend reported Chauvin missing, after losing contact with her online.
Officers with Surrey RCMP’s major-crimes unit were called to the riverside scene, in the 15500-block of 40 Avenue, at approximately 4:30 p.m., and police said they didn’t think Chauvin had been there long at that point.
Police also said there was no evidence of foul play – an autopsy found “a mix” of drugs in Chauvin’s system – but described some of the circumstances as “unusual,” and asked anyone with information to come forward.
Perron made her first public appeal a week later, noting that her daughter, who was herself a mother, had only moved to B.C. a few days prior to her death. She reissued the appeal in February 2014.
At that time, police confirmed that a person of interest had been identified “within the first weeks” following the discovery of Chauvin’s body, and that a Surrey man had been arrested in October 2013.
While police had recommended a charge of “indignity to dead body” in connection with how Chauvin got to the riverside – investigators “knew… someone did something terribly wrong,” Cpl. Bert Paquet told PAN at the time – Crown determined the evidence did not justify charges.
“I don’t understand what that means,” Perron said Thursday.
“To me, her body was left there. If that was their child, I’m sure that the Crown would have thought differently. There’s some criminal wrongdoing here.”
Perron said it also makes no sense that whoever left her daughter by the river didn’t take her to a hospital or neighbour’s home instead.
An autopsy found “a mix of drugs” in Chauvin’s system, but Perron remains certain her daughter didn’t commit suicide. She was “upbeat” in their last conversation, Perron said, speculating she ingested a combination that “was too much for her system.”
Perron said police told her in 2015 that their investigation remains open, but essentially inactive.
Her appeal this week, she said, isn’t just for herself, but for all parents who have lost a child to drugs.
“There’s so many parents out there, in the same boat as me, having to bury their kids, and these drug dealers are just going on and they don’t care about the person, they just want the money in their pocket,” she said.
“I just want answers. It would just be nice to have some closure and get the people responsible for this accountable, and have the law do something to stop this.”
If Chauvin were alive today, she would be turning 27 on May 18.
Perron said her fondest memory of her daughter is “the day she was born.”
“I just miss her smile, her laughter, her silliness,” she said.
“She was a beautiful, beautiful girl.”
Anyone with information that could assist police in closing the file and bring Perron “some peace” may contact Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502.