A man and woman found dead three days apart in Abbotsford were in a romantic relationship and were both known to police for their involvement in the drug trade.

The RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said yesterday the two victims — one discovered in a berry field near Abbotsford and the other inside a residence in city — are linked.

Police were first called to a rural area last Thursday to investigate a burned-out vehicle.

Officers discovered human remains inside the car. Investigators needed dental records to confirm the victim as 24-year-old Bobby Leroy DiGeorgio.

When police arrived at DiGeorgio’s Abbotsford home on Sunday evening they discovered the body of his 23-year-old girlfriend, Jessica Amber Illes.

Cpl. Dale Carr said it’s quite unusual for a couple to both fall victim to targeted killings.

“That we don’t see very often,” he said in an interview. “It’s certainly based on investigators’ assertions so far that it’s linked to drugs and organized crime.”

Carr said police do not plan to release the cause of death for investigative purposes.

“It’s solely for the end integrity of this investigation,” he said.

“If we find someone we feel is responsible and they’re able to articulate (the cause of death), we’re able to sit up and say, ‘Listen, they’re the only ones who knew it beside us.’”

In a July report, Statistics Canada said the Abbotsford-Mission area had the highest homicide rate in Canada in 2008, with 4.7 murders per 100,000 residents.