Okanagan woman’s death beside Coquihalla Highway not a criminal investigation: Police

Two new crashes this week on the Coquihalla highway, one of them fatal, is raising new questions about the safety of the route. Catherine Urquhart reports.

An Okanagan woman who was found dead beside the Coquihalla Highway south of Merritt July 22 did not die in suspicious circumstances, according to the RCMP.

The cause of her death has not been released and the investigation has been turned over to the B.C. Coroners Service.

“The woman’s death is not deemed suspicious and no criminality is suspected,” Meritt RCMP’s Staff Sgt. Lorne Wood said.

Family members have identified the 27-year-old as Brittany Martel, a First Nations woman from Hay River, N.W.T. who was living in West Kelowna before she died.

Martel had been the subject of a news story in June when RCMP asked for helped locating her.

She was found safe July 3 she had been out of touch with family while she hitchhiked to the Northwest Territories.

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READ MORE: Missing woman from West Kelowna located: RCMP

On July 15, Martel posted on Facebook that she felt, “like road kill haha on this highway again.”

Her remains were found near the Mine Creek Road on Highway 5 south of Merritt when a driver stepped out to stretch his legs while waiting for a crash scene to be cleared.

READ MORE: First Nation woman identified as person found dead beside Coquihalla Highway

An appeal for public information on sightings of Martel proved successful for RCMP.

“The Merritt RCMP would like to thank the members of the public who called in to assist with sightings of the woman in the days before her passing and assisting in the recovery of some of her personal belongings,” Staff Sgt. Wood said.

Her family members said they are mourning and did not want to comment on Martel’s passing until they had more information on the cause of her death.