The man arrested in connection with the killing of Trina Hunt has been released without charges, creating “false hope” according to her grieving family.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has not yet revealed the identity of the man taken into custody outside Hunt’s home in Port Moody, B.C., on Friday, but confirmed that he’d been released.
“There isn’t much I can say at this point as it could jeopardize the integrity of the ongoing investigation,” said IHIT’s Sgt. David Lee in an interview on Monday.
The arrest and release “does not signify the end of the investigation,” Lee added, but was part of the investigative process. It doesn’t mean charges won’t be laid, he said, “just that we aren’t there yet.”
Hunt was 48 years old when she was reported missing on Jan. 18, 2021, by her husband Iain, who said he had seen her that morning before he left for work.
Her remains were found by a member of the public south of Silver Creek in Hope, B.C., on March 29, 2021, after an extensive search by official crews and community volunteers.
Hunt’s cousin-in-law said the past weekend has come with a “whirlwind” of emotions for the family.
“First we were processing news of an arrest … now we’re processing the news that no charges have been laid as a result of that arrest,” Stephanie Ibbott told Global News.
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“It’s devastating. It’s just beyond comprehension how we could have gotten to this point and then nothing. It was just a lot of false hope.”
Hunt would have turned 50 on Monday. Balloons were seen outside her home that afternoon.
Ibbott, who speaks for the family, said she had hoped police would reveal first- or second-degree murder charges on Monday, adding, “please let it not be manslaughter.”
“I never thought for a minute it would just be no charges. I just can’t comprehend it.”
Police told Hunt’s family in advance that the man arrested on Friday had been released, she said, and they shared no information beyond that because of “privacy.”
She said she appreciates the amount of work IHIT has put into the investigation, and doesn’t believe the team would have “made such a public spectacle” on Friday without a reason.
“I think that’s what’s helping me cope with this news … I think it’s a warning to anyone involved that they’re not giving up and they’re coming for you.”
Friday’s arrest had renewed an outpouring of support for Hunt’s family, with some in the neighbourhood placing flowers and signs outside her home.
The community support has helped kept the family going, said Ibbott.
“Nobody is letting her light fade and that is so important. Additionally, it helps remind the people responsible that no one is going to forget what you’ve done.”
Hunt’s cousins have described her as a “bubbly, bright, welcoming, caring, thoughtful, passionate, generous and loyal” person. The investigation into her case is ongoing and anyone with information can call IHIT at 1-877-551-4448.