The ongoing search for missing Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang has ended in tragedy.
Nanaimo RCMP confirmed Thursday they have recovered a body believed to be that of the missing 16-year-old girl and are investigating the death as a homicide.
The body was found in the Nanaimo area, according to RCMP.
Nanaimo RCMP Serious Crimes Unit is now leading the investigation into the suspected murder.
CTV News spoke with a friend of Chang's family who said the discovery of the body came as a huge shock.
“I fell to the floor and just started crying. It’s an outcome we were not hoping for and one that I couldn’t have prepared myself for,” said Lindsay Arsenault. “We were still keeping that positive hope and today it was crushed.”
Arsenault said police won't tell the family exactly where Chang's body was found.
“We understand that they’re going through an investigation right now. We don’t want to hinder their process but we want answers as well about what happened to our friend,” she said.
Arsenault thanked the community for its support over the last two months, saying without it, “I’m sure Makayla’s family wouldn’t have known how much she is dearly loved and missed by everybody.”
Chang was last seen in Nanaimo on March 17 and reported missing on March 22.
RCMP officers and search and rescue teams scoured the Harbour City over the past two months looking for clues in her disappearance.
They also executed two search warrants in 53-year-old Steven Bacon’s home where she was known to stay, but after Mounties tracked him down last month there was still no sign of Chang.
Police won't say when or how the body was found, but say they don’t believe the public is at risk.
The Nanaimo School District said it will provide counselling for both staff and students across the district if they need it.
Chang’s family is asking for privacy.
With files from CTV Vancouver Island's Jessica Lepp