Ryelen Beecroft was funny and kind, loved by family and friends, and aspired to be in the Royal Canadian Navy.
Beecroft, 18, was found dead on the grounds of Golden Ears elementary in Maple Ridge on Wednesday.
A person cutting through a nearby property found his body and called for an ambulance.
Ridge Meadows RCMP did not identify the body, but family confirmed it was Beecroft, who had attended Garibaldi secondary and lived in Maple Ridge.
The cause of death is not yet known, but is being investigated by the B.C. Coroner’s Service.
Many on social media have speculated the death was drug-related, and for that reason one of his sisters wants people to know more about him.
Skyler Zielinski, Ryelen’s older sister, lives in Port Alberni and spoke with her brother regularly over the phone. She said he was loved by a lot of people.
“I don’t want anyone thinking he was just some low-life drug addict. He was an amazing kind soul, so giving and always made everyone laugh. He motivated people to help themselves and better themselves,” said Zielinski.
“From Day 1, he always put everyone ahead of himself.”
Zielinski remembers receiving makeup mirrors from her brother, made during his wood shop class.
“He would be given a project and if he had a choice to do it, he would make someone something, like give it away.
He made my dad a beautiful cutting board, with all the different kinds of woods and grains. He was so talented and thoughtful, she said.
“Even when he had nothing, he would go and sell one of his video games to get some money to buy somebody a present. Even if it wasn’t much. He was always so giving.”
She said her brother was an uplifting person.
“He was very loyal, very good. Just a very good person,” she said, choking back tears.
Beecroft also leaves behind an older brother, and a younger sister and brother.
“We don’t know anything,” Zielinski said. “We have had no reports back. It just looks like it might have been a drug overdose. That’s the only thing I have heard. That’s the only thing any of us have heard.”
She is upset about messages being left on social media sites, making assumptions about her brother.
“You need to realize who is seeing this and how it’s affecting them, as well. You are saying these things and people take that information in and they are seeing that as the truth before the truth has even been found out,” Zielinski added.
“I do know that he was trying to stay away from those people – not smoking weed, not doing anything. He was just trying to focus on bettering himself, what he wanted to do with his life,” she said.
In 2015 in a post on Facebook, Ryelen said: “that much closer to going into the navy … just got a email back im waiting now for a response on when im going for the tests.”
Zielinski said her brother used to love swimming as a child.
“He used to go swimming a lot when he was a kid in the Cowichan Valley. He loved being outside.”
He was shy when he was younger, then in his teens opened up more.
“He was just a hilarious, fun, more outgoing, confident, goofy guy,” said his sister.
She also said he was hard working.
“I remember he would go shoveling the driveways of the neighbours and mow their lawns,” Zielinski added.
“I really don’t want people to think it’s just some kid who was doing drugs. ‘What an idiot, overdosed. That’s what happens when you do that.’”
“You would be shocked at the amount of people in all age ranges who go out once in a while and have a little to-do. I am not condoning it. I do not condone it whatsoever. But, it’s not worth it,” she said.