An area near Britannia Park in Ottawa's west end has turned into a crime scene bustling with police officers searching for clues and mourners grieving for answers after a 39-year-old woman was found dead near an NCC bike path early Wednesday morning.

While police have identified the woman as Pamela Kosmack, a mother of two who lived in the area, they continue to call her death "suspicious" and won't say whether their investigation has uncovered any solid tips, leads or suspects.

In the meantime, police are continuing to warn the public to take extra caution while walking in the area.

"I think people have to be very aware of their environment right now and certainly concern is something that's obvious . . . but at the same time I don't want to fear monger," Ottawa Police Chief Vern White said Thursday.

He says until police determine what happened in the moments leading up to Kosmack's death, it is important for women travelling in the area to stay safe by:

  • understanding their environment
  • making sure they're not putting themselves in risky situations
  • and travelling in pairs or groups

While their investigation is ongoing, police say it's too early to determine whether Kosmack's death is related to other suspicious assaults on women in the Capital.

"We have no indication right now that the incidents yesterday and any of the other cases are linked," White told CTV Ottawa.

"If we have any indication there, I can tell you that we'll be the first people to say that we have concerns that this is one person doing many events," he said.

Body found close to home

Kosmack's badly beaten body was found by a pedestrian shortly after 6 a.m. Wednesday, just two kilometers from where she lived in a social housing building on New Orchard Avenue.

While neighbours remembered Kosmack as a good natured person who battled drug addiction, friends remembered her for her smile and bubbling personality.

"She always had a smile. It touched me, it touched all my family, my husband, my child," said Gail Thomas, who placed flowers at a growing memorial near the crime scene.

"It's very hard to deal with because my wife is about the same age and it's just too close to home," said James Thomas.

No excuse for violence

While details of Kosmack's final moments have not yet emerged, an Ottawa women's group says there is never an excuse for violence against women.

"A lifestyle and choices that we make do not excuse violence and women are not responsible for violence that happens," Erin Williams, a spokesperson for the Coalition to End Violence Against Women, told CTV Ottawa.

An autopsy on Kosmack's body has been scheduled and will be conducted in Toronto later this week.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Catherine Lathem