Watch above: As police continue to search for the people responsible for Jessica Newman’s death, her family and friends are trying to raise money to help. Nancy Hixt reports.
CALGARY – Family and close friends of Jessica Newman, whose body was found in a ditch in a rural area northeast of the city on Monday, are struggling to make sense of her death.
“She was lively, spunky, funny. She brought joy to whoever’s life she touched, and she will be greatly missed,” said Jessica’s aunt, Lisa Chiasson.
The knowledge that the mother of three was murdered is making the loss much harder for her loved ones to deal with.
“She was always happy, she was never mad, never down…always helped…a great spirit to be around,” said best friend, Ryan Chamberlain.
“It’s so hard talking about her in past tense,” said another aunt, Lynda Abell. “We’re still kind of learning how to do that.”
The 24-year-old was last seen March 10 leaving her place of work, the Water Grill, in southeast Calgary.
The next day, she was supposed to be at a custody hearing for her youngest son, but never showed up.
“It’s all she wanted…after months of fighting, she finally got it, then this happened,” said Chamberlain.
Calgary police have interviewed a number of witnesses in the case, and detectives have made it clear through a letter to Jessica’s mother that they’re closing in on those responsible.
As they wait for justice, Jessica’s loved ones are rallying to pay for funeral costs, and raising funds for her children’s care.
“Jessica’s kids were important to her; family was important to her,” said Abell.
They can only hope her killer will soon be caught.
“They’re going to have to live with it, and you can’t run forever. Police are doing their job–they’ll find who did it,” said Chiasson.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help support Newman’s family, with a fundraising event set for June 5 at the Pineridge Community Centre.
The Water Grill is holding a memorial and fundraiser from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday; the public is welcome to attend.