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Daughter asks public for information about mother’s last hours in Sechelt

Mona Kozak, 59, was found dead in Sechelt Inlet on July 18

In the days since Sechelt resident Mona Kozak was found dead in Sechelt Inlet on July 18, her daughter Rachel Prisel has been looking for answers.

Coast Reporter originally reported that a 59-year-old woman’s body was found seven hours after she was last seen, but Kozak was last reported seen leaving a friend’s sailboat around 1 a.m. on Saturday, July 17. Police were called about a body recovered from Sechelt Inlet near the government wharf at Anchor Road and Wharf Avenue at 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 18.

That leaves more than 30 hours unaccounted for.

Sunshine Coast RCMP confirmed their investigation into the death is continuing. As of July 27, the police had not yet received the autopsy results and a cause of death had not been determined. In regards to whether foul play is suspected, RCMP Const. Karen Whitby told Coast Reporter in an email “the investigation is ongoing.”

“It’s a complete shock,” Prisel said.

“I’ve been through a lot of grief and loss before and it’s just different with my mom,” she said. “And then having the unanswered questions of what occurred leading up to her death and causing her death is what’s really hard to sit with right now.”

While Kozak is originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., she and Prisel moved in together in central Sechelt when Kozak’s husband passed away in 2014. Prisel said her mother walked in Sechelt every day, spending her time at the legion, meeting up with friends for coffee, and was a regular at the Village Restaurant and the Lighthouse Pub.

Prisel said her mother was known for her heart of gold and habit of talking to anyone she met, as well as her willingness to help comfort and support people.

“She never drank,” Prisel told Coast Reporter. “She would always just go out and have a coffee and do her walk and socialize and keep herself busy and active within the community.”

Kozak would have turned 60 in November, and Prisel said she often liked to say she would live to be 100 years old.

“I’ve had an overwhelming response of support from people in the community, shock and a lot of sadness,” Prisel said. She has worked in the construction industry in the Sechelt area for years, and said it’s nice to know she has community support, since her mother was her only family member living nearby.

The police are still asking for information from the public, and Prisel is hoping that sharing who her mother was will create awareness. She hopes someone may come forward if they saw Kozak on the Friday evening, in the early hours of Saturday, around the pub, or if they had a conversation with her leading up to her death.

Prisel notes the area near the docks and Lighthouse Pub is quite busy.

“There’s people paddleboarding and kayaking and using the boat launch all day Saturday,” Prisel said. “So I’m curious as to if anybody that day out on the inlet on a boat or anything may have seen her or a bag or anything in the water as well.”

Kozak had grey hair she often wore in a ponytail, Prisel said. The police description says she was wearing black running shoes, a dark jacket and may have been carrying a black and red Roots backpack.

Anyone with information is asked to call Const. Whitby and the Sunshine Coast RCMP at 604-885-2266. The case file number is 2021-4248.