Police in Cape Breton are investigating a shocking murder after the remains of a 21-year-old woman were discovered in a floating hockey bag on the Mira River Friday evening.  

A police dive team armed with a metal detector spent the day scouring the bottom of the river while other investigators pursued leads on the shore.

The head of major crime for Cape Breton Regional Police says the extensive river search was not prompted by any specific information about the young woman's murder, but it is an area of interest because it's close to where the bag was found and pulled ashore.

"Anytime we do have a deceased person found in the water, we do follow up with what we call a grid search, just to be sure we did not miss anything," says homicide investigator Sgt. Mike Kennedy.

Residents in the small community of Marion Bridge, N.S. say they are shocked at the discovery.

"It's not supposed to happen in the Mira area, it is supposed to be a tranquil place where you enjoy life here," says area resident Earl MacPherson. "We never expected anything like this."

Adding to the residents' unease is the reluctance by police to release details of how, when or where the victim was murdered.

"We really haven't got a lot of information," says resident Bob Mills. "A lot of rumours. I hate to speculate on rumours."

Investigators do confirm they have tracked down the original owner of the hockey bag in which the victim's remains were found. They say it belonged to a member of the Glace Bay Minor Hockey Association and the player's name was still on the bag.

However, police have verified the owner's story that the hockey bag containing used sports gear was left at a curb in April during a heavy garbage pickup.

The owner told police a truck with three or four youth took the bag and police are now looking for the group as they continue to chase down leads in the case.

The woman's family has requested that the victim's name not be released at this time.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Randy MacDonald