Body of Australian woman missing in Canada found in lake

Alison Raspa went missing four months ago.

Alison Raspa went missing four months ago. Photo: AAP

Police have found the body of a 25-year-old Perth woman who had been missing at a ski resort in Canada for almost four months.

Alison Leanne Raspa was last seen on November 23 after leaving work colleagues at the Three Below Restaurant and Lounge in the resort town of Whistler.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said human remains found by a bystander in the partially frozen Alpha Lake on Friday have been identified as those of Ms Raspa.

Her cause of death has not been established but police say her death does not appear suspicious.

Ms Raspa’s family in Australia has been notified and the office of the British Columbia Coroner is working with them on the process of returning her remains.

Tragedy buried in the snow

A friend of Ms Raspa’s in Whistler, who wished to remain anonymous, said the discovery of her body was tragic but it would help the family get some closure.

“She was a super nice girl,” he said.

“She was loving living in Whistler. She was loving that she was going snowboarding and being here. She was talking about getting a mountain bike for the summer.

“She was a young, energetic girl, so it’s tragic.”

He said colleagues and workers suspected that more information about what happened to Ms Raspa would unfold in the warmer months once the snow had melted away.

“We kind of assumed that this was going to be the case,” he said.

“The weather has warmed up a bit and things have starting melting, so personally I was expecting this.

“I think some closure is good for everybody to an extent, to know nobody has taken her.”

A four-month mystery

Ms Raspa moved from Perth to Canada early in 2017 to work in hospitality and had landed a job at the luxury Westin Spa and Resort, in the busy pedestrian district of Whistler.

Whistler village in Canada

Whistler ski resort is located about 100 kilometres north of Vancouver. Photo: AAP

Her disappearance baffled police, who scoured the area around Whistler, including Alpha Lake, for two weeks after she went missing.

Little was known about her final hours.

That fateful night, Ms Raspa clocked off from her job, and headed to the Three Below bar with friends.

After leaving, police say she spoke with a friend in the Village Stroll, a pedestrian area in the centre of town, and then went to catch a public bus.

CCTV footage had established that she had caught a bus from Whistler village to a smaller township just south of the town’s centre.

But things then got much more serious.

A fateful text message

According to police she lived within a bus-stop distance of the intersection where she got off the bus, near a Husky service station. Her jacket and backpack were found close by.

At 1:15am local time, friends received a text message saying she was lost.

Her phone was then found in nearby Alpha Lake Park, just a few hundred metres from the bus stop.

Four months later, her body has now been found in the lake.

Her co-workers reported her missing, but it is not clear when a ground search for her commenced.

One local media outlet reported family members had heard rumours she had been upset by something which happened at work before she went missing.

There was also a report of an incident outside the Three Below bar as she left, however a bar employee was quoted saying he was “100 per cent sure” nothing had happened.

Other Australian lives lost in party town

Ms Raspa is not the first Australian to have come to grief in the resort town, so popular with antipodean youth seeking a holiday adventure it has been dubbed “Whistralia”.

In 2014, a 19-year-old Australian boy dubbed “Marty” was found dead in his room in staff housing after a night out on the town.

According to local Picque Magazine he is believed to have overdosed on a lethal combination of cocaine and sleeping pills.

In June 2015, teenager Jake Kermond’s remains were found in an industrial complex near the town.

He had been reported missing on April 30 after hotel staff found his room abandoned.

Some of his personal belongings were missing.

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