VICTORIA -- More than three years after the death of a 16-year-old girl in Nanaimo, an older man who befriended her has been charged with her murder.

Makayla Chang was last seen alive outside a downtown Nanaimo Tim Hortons restaurant in March 2017. Her body was recovered two months later.

Steven Bacon was 57 years old at the time and has been a person of interest in the case ever since. Now, Nanaimo police have confirmed Bacon is charged with first-degree murder.

Bacon is currently incarcerated in Thunder Bay, Ont., on four unrelated charges, including sexual assault and incest.

The RCMP say Bacon was a friend of Chang’s whom she sometimes stayed with.

In August 2019, police issued a Canada-wide warrant for Bacon, saying he may have information related to Chang's murder.

"Makayla’s family, and the community of Nanaimo and of Vancouver Island as a whole have been greatly affected by the loss of this young life," said Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O'Brien in a statement Wednesday. "Hopefully, this charge can assist with providing answers and bringing a degree of resolution to Makayla’s family."

In June, when CTV News revealed that police were recommending a murder charge against Bacon, friends of Chang said they were relieved the teen would finally have her case heard in court.

"I honestly got up and I screamed, I was excited," said Jane Moore. "I miss her a lot. I think about her daily."

Brandy McKee is a close friend of Chang's family. At the time of her disappearance, McKee helped organize searches for the missing girl.

"After reading the news and speaking to Makayla's cousin, we had a good happy cry," she said in June. "I hope the whole family can sleep a little easier."

Bacon is scheduled to appear in an Ontario court on a sex assault charge on Friday.