The Vancouver music community is mourning the death of Randy Ponzio, whose body was discovered in a Downtown East rooming house five days after he went missing.
Ponzio, whose band Quest Poetics recorded the song "Hallelujah" with Juno Award-winning rapper Shad, and in August won the Shore 104.3 FM Song Search for his soulful reggae-tinged song "For The People," was supposed to join Shad for his show with k-os at the Commodore Ballroom on Nov. 25. He just recorded an EP with producer Shawn Cole (Bend Sinister, You Say Party! We Say Die!).
By all accounts, Ponzio's disappearance on November 15 was out of character, and friends worried after he failed to pick up his kids. According to The Vancouver Sun, his live-in girlfriend subsequently got "weird text messages" from his phone after she last saw him, but doesn't know if they were really from him.
Const. Jana McGuinness said that Ponzio's bank account had been used days after he was last seen in an area of the city in which he had not been spotted.
"The only thing we do know for absolute sure is that he left the Keefer [bar] at midnight and that is the last time he was seen," Ponzio's friend Ben Newman told the Sun. "We have no way of proving he went home. There is a message saying that, but we are not sure if that came from him or what. He never made his destination."
Ponzio's body was found in the Balmoral Hotel on November 19, the area around which is known for its drug dealings. Friends say he was not known to have an addiction problem; police say his body exhibited no visible trauma and his death is being treated as suspicious.
Friends and family held a vigil for him on Monday night at the cross-streets where he used to busk and are organizing various fundraising initiatives for his three children, including selling his CD and soliciting donations via a web page, which has already raised thousands of dollars.