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Police confirm search was in relation to Cortney Lake homicide

RNC officers, carrying a drone, emerge from a wooded area at Bellevue Beach during an extensive ground search Wednesday.
RNC officers, carrying a drone, emerge from a wooded area at Bellevue Beach during an extensive ground search Wednesday. - Telegram file photo

The RNC confirmed Thursday what most presumed — the lengthy search in the woods at Bellevue Beach Wednesday was in connection with the Cortney Lake homicide investigation.

Const. Geoff Higdon told The Telegram Thursday that no evidence regarding the case was located during the search and that no other ground searches are planned as of now.

“But (another search) could occur at any time based on information we receive,” Higdon said.

More than 40 people — including RNC officers, members of the Avalon North Wolverines, Central Avalon ground search and rescue and the Rovers Search and Rescue — took part in an extensive day-long ground search, scouring the woods where the body of Lake’s ex-boyfriend, Philip Steven Smith, was discovered early Wednesday morning.

It was a distance of less than a kilometre between the Trans-Canada Highway and the cabins on Bellevue Beach, including one owned by Smith’s father.

Lake, 24, disappeared June 7 and police believe she was murdered. The last time she was seen was when she was getting into Smith’s pickup around 7:30 p.m. that night near her Mount Pearl home.

Smith, 25, died by suicide. Sources say Smith called his family Tuesday night and told them he was going to kill himself. The family then reported him missing to police.

An RCMP police dog found his body at 3 a.m. Wednesday in the woods. There were no weapons involved, The Telegram learned.

While Smith had previously been convicted of assaulting Lake and distributing nude photos of her and was the subject of peace bonds by her and her family, police have never publicly connected him with Lake’s disappearance.

However, officers did seize his truck, which matched the description of the truck Lake was getting into when she was last seen. Police later returned the truck to Smith, who later sold it.

 

With files from Tara Bradbury

rosie.mullaley@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelyRosie

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