WATCH ABOVE: Thursday, family said their final goodbye to a young mother who was tragically killed in Calgary last week. Eric Szeto reports.
CALGARY –Dawns Echoes Baptiste was remembered as a woman with a big heart and a protector of her family. That was a recurring theme at her funeral held Thursday morning on the Samson Cree Nation, south of Wetaskiwin, Alberta. Dozens of people attended the morning ceremony in the Jim Omeasoo Cultural Center at Maskwacis.
“I’m lost. We grew up together, she was my best friend, she was my protector,” said cousin Roberta Baptiste.
“She had such a big heart. If somebody was starving, she’d feed them. If someone was cold, she’d let them in.”
The body of 31-year-old Baptiste was found in the backyard of a Whitehorn home last Thursday. Police believe Baptiste was assaulted and dragged into a nearby yard just after midnight on Wednesday, where she was then sexually assaulted and later succumbed to her injuries. Curtis Jade Tyson Healy, 25, was charged with first-degree murder on Sunday.
“No one deserves this. No Aboriginal, no anybody, no race deserves to go through this kind of suffering, especially as young as she was,” said sister-in-law Pam Baptiste. “To leave behind her children, she had goals.”
Baptiste’s brother, Alex, told Global News in a past interview she had just started a new job and was excited about regaining custody of her four young children.
“These kids are going to be growing up with no mother,” he said Thursday. “I’m very distraught, heartbroken. I have anger in me. It’s all mixed emotions right now. The whole family’s feeling it.”
Baptiste was Calgary’s fifth murder victim of 2015.
With files from Eric Szeto