An anonymous letter-writer has claimed responsibility for killing an 18-year-old Canadian girl on Halloween night and has threatened further violence against women in the picturesque British Columbian town of Armstrong, where the murder occurred.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police caution that they don't know if the letter, received on Wednesday, is from the actual killer of Taylor Van Diest, whose body was found the night of Oct. 31 near railroad tracks.
Van Diest was on her way to a Halloween party, dressed in a zombie costume.
"Because of the limited details about the crime, it's made it difficult to determine if in fact it's from the person who killed her," Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, told ABCNews.com.
The police appealed to the letter-writer to contact them again.
"We're trying to create a dialogue," Moskaluk said. He said police currently had no suspects in the case, which has rocked the normally peaceful agricultural and forestry community of about 5,000.
"We're a small town. This has never ever happened in our community before," Mayor Chris Pieper told ABCNews.com. "This is a very devastating event for us."
Police are urging residents to travel in groups and to tell family members where they are going as the investigation continues.
Van Diest, who grew up in Armstrong and graduated from high school in June, left her home about 5:50 p.m. on Halloween night, wearing the zombie costume and makeup and a tan jacket, police said. About 10 minutes later she sent a text message in which she said she was being "creeped," her friend Zoe Unruh told the Globe and Mail in Canada.
At 7:30 p.m., her cellphone was found and police were contacted, and the body was found at 8:45 p.m. in bushes near the railway tracks. Van Diest had been severely beaten, police said. She died later at the hospital.
Even if police determine that the menacing letter is not from the killer, townspeople won't be reassured, said Pieper. "If it's not authentic, we've got two or more persons that are pretty warped," he said. "There's a sense in our community of insecureness."