Three years after Rachel Pernosky disappeared, her estranged half-brother has been charged with second-degree murder in her death.
Matthew Joseph Pernosky, 31, a Richmond resident, has also been charged with indignity to a body. He does not have a criminal record.
Rachel was 18 when she went missing from her Mission, B.C., home in March 2013 and was found dead a few days later. Her body was found down a steep embankment near Old Orchard Road in Chilliwack.
Pernosky’s purse and cellphone were found at home, even though family said she rarely left home without the two items. She was also an avid user of social media and her activity stopped abruptly when she disappeared.
“The randomness of her murder shocked the community of Mission and beyond and public safety was paramount for all investigative agencies involved but it was quickly determined that this incident was not random and a suspect was identified in the early stages,” said Sgt. Jennifer Pound with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT).
Her son Marco, who was 12 months old at the time of her disappearance, was left behind.
“This is a tragic case that has left a family with many unanswered questions. From the onset, IHIT and Mission RCMP have worked collaboratively to follow the evidence and secure the charges you see today. It has been three solid years of drive and commitment from all of the investigators involved,” said Pound.
A statement from Rachel Pernosky’s family:
We are very grateful and relieved that an arrest has been made in connection with Rachel’s murder.
Rachel was a mother, daughter, sister, and friend. Rachel’s absence from our lives has left many broken hearts and great devastation. She is missed and remembered each and every day.
She was a strong and beautiful young woman with her whole life ahead of her.
Our sweet Rachel will never have the opportunity to live out her dreams; she didn’t deserve this.
Her senseless murder has left behind a young boy who will never know his mother and will one day need answers to questions that he should never have to ask.
We would like to thank the investigators at IHIT who have worked tirelessly to achieve justice for Rachel. It is excruciating to not have Rachel in our lives any longer and what makes this more difficult is knowing that an estranged family member has been charged with her murder.
There are no words to describe the pain we are feeling or the difficulty we are facing with processing all of this. For this, we ask for privacy and thank you for allowing us to tell you about who Rachel was in life and the deep void we all feel with her gone. You will never be forgotten Rachel.
Gallery: Hundreds attended a vigil for Rachel Pernosky in 2013: