News
1 min

Still no arrest in death of queer teen who disappeared from Vancouver

RCMP won’t say what happened to Oliver Zamarripa or how he got to Lytton, BC

Oliver Zamarripa poses in a Facebook photo.
Oliver Zamarripa went missing in October 2016, and was found dead two weeks later. Credit: Facebook/Oliver Zamarripa

Nine months after Oliver Zamarripa disappeared from downtown Vancouver, the RCMP remain silent on how the 19-year-old queer man died.

But Xtra has learned a few new details about the RCMP’s investigation into the case.

Zamarripa’s body was found two weeks after his disappearance 260 kilometres away in Lytton, BC, a tiny town where friends say he had no reason to be.

Two friends close to Zamarripa told Xtra that police questioned them a few months ago about Zamarripa’s involvement with BDSM, and asked about BDSM gear. The friends spoke to Xtra on condition of anonymity.

RCMP were also called to investigate when a close friend of Zamarripa received disturbing messages in her Facebook inbox.

“I’m really sorry I murdered your friend forgive me,” began the first text, which Xtra was shown. When Zamarripa’s friend reacted in shock, the texter explained that they wanted to ask forgiveness for the crime and explain “what really happened to your best friend.”

When Zamarripa’s friend called the RCMP and showed them the messages, she says, officers assured her the texts were likely fake and from an online troll.

The RCMP declined to comment on the texts, BDSM gear, or any other detail of the case, but a spokesperson says the case “remains a priority for our investigators.”

When Zamarripa’s body was found in November 2016, RCMP called the death suspicious.

RCMP have previously said they have “no information to suggest that Oliver may have been targeted because of his LGBTQ lifestyle.”

Safety concerns over Zamarripa’s disappearance were to be a major topic in a meeting between the Vancouver Police Department and the LGBT community in February. The meeting was cancelled at the last minute due to controversy over the VPD’s participation in the Vancouver Pride parade.