Shanghai police are investigating the death of a Canadian model who was working in the city, a spokeswoman said yesterday, following media reports that the young woman might have been murdered. Canadian media said that Diana Gabrielle O'Brien, 22, was found dead on Monday on Shanghai's Chongming Island, where she had gone for a modelling job which required her to stay overnight. Canadian police had told her relatives that an autopsy would be held and the case was being treated as a homicide, the Times Colonist in Victoria, British Columbia, and private Canadian broadcaster CTV said. The Shanghai police spokeswoman said authorities had received a report of the death on Monday, but put the location in Changning district in the west of the city and not on the island, which is east of the city. 'The case is still under investigation by police,' she said, declining to confirm whether it was a murder. 'This was found in Changning district, her place of residence. It didn't occur on Chongming; it was in Changning.' A spokesman for Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the government was 'aware' of the death and that assistance was being provided to the family. Murders of foreigners are relatively rare in China. When they do occur, they are typically in robbery cases. A murder, if confirmed, would be a blow to Shanghai's reputation as a foreigner-friendly city and a concern to the central government as Beijing prepares to host the Olympics. O'Brien arrived in Shanghai last month and was scheduled to work through the summer, according to the website of her Victoria-based agency, Barbara Coultish Model Management. She had recently finished an assignment in Milan, Italy. In Shanghai, she was under contract to the JH Model Agency. A description by the agency posted on an industry website described it as one of the leading modelling agencies in eastern China, specialising in bringing foreign models to Asia. Attempts to reach the agency yesterday were unsuccessful. Media reports said O'Brien was homesick and wanted to end her three-month contract early because she was unhappy with the types of assignments. Her boyfriend, Joel Berry, was quoted as saying that he suspected foul play and played down the possibility that the cause of death might have been drugs or alcohol. Shanghai residents were shocked by a violent crime last week, when a Beijing man attacked a police station, killing six officers and wounding four people.