‘It’s hell’: Loved ones of Calgary murder victims struggle through holidays
CALGARY – Two small Christmas trees mark the grave site of Julie Tran. Julie’s little brother is just trying to survive the holiday season without her.
“Christmas right now is extremely, extremely stressful,” Billy Tran said. “I don’t get to do any of the things I used to do with my sister.
“We’re here with her and she’s in our hearts so we have to keep looking forward and we will probably end up coming and celebrating with her,” Tran said at Queen’s Park Cemetery.
Julie Tran was killed two months ago. She was just 25.
Julie was found murdered Oct. 19 in a Northeast Calgary home along with her caregiver, 54-year-old Selma Alem. Their bodies were found in a house in the 200 block of Coventry Close N.E. at around 10 a.m.
Autopsies confirmed both women died as a result of stab wounds.
Alem was like a mother to Julie, who suffered a brain injury when she was just two years old.
Alem’s son Emanuel Kahsai, 30, is charged with first-degree murder in connection to the death of his mother, and second-degree murder in connection to the death of Julie.
“I just have so many emotions,” Billy told Global News. “I absolutely want to make sure justice is served…but at the same time, he was very troubled, Emanuel.”
Kahsai made a brief court appearance Monday. The case was put over until Jan. 14, 2016.
Alem’s best friend attends court for every single one of Kahsai’s appearances. She finds it discouraging to see how slowly the wheels of justice turn.
“It’s hell…guys…it’s hell.
“We all have jobs and every time we have to come here, we lose a day of pay,” Susan Hills said outside of court.
Ten years ago Alem’s other son, 18-year-old Michael Tsehaie Kahsai, was murdered.
According to court documents, Emanuel Kahsai never recovered from the loss, battling addictions and becoming physically and verbally abusive towards Alem. When she was killed, there was an emergency protection order in place.
“She just wanted him to get the help he needed,” Hills said.
Family and friends of both Alem and Julie have so many questions.
For now, they’re in survival mode, getting through each day of what used to be the happiest time of year.
“Now we move forward and know that she’s in the safest place possible,” Billy said.
© 2015 Shaw Media