Friends identify victim killed in northwest Edmonton altercation

Mother charged with daughter’s murder
WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton woman is facing second degree murder charges after her 21-year-old daughter was found dead inside their West Edmonton house. Friends say news of her death and the charges is hard to comprehend. Julia Wong reports.

Friends said the woman killed at a house near 122 Avenue and 132 Street Friday afternoon was a 21-year-old nursing student who was slated to start a new job in the New Year.

Officers were called to the home “regarding an assault” just after 4:30 p.m. and found a severely injured woman who died on the scene. A second woman was taken into custody.

The victim is 21-year-old Rachael Longridge.

EPS spokesperson Noreen Remtulla said the initial call came from inside the house.

“Another family member returned home at the time and called police for help,” Remtulla said.

Police charged Christine Longridge, 50, with second degree murder and possession of an offensive weapon in relation to the homicide of her daughter, Rachael.

“This is a disheartening crime,” Staff Sgt. Bill Clark said. “Through the investigation, we learned Rachael just graduated at the top of her nursing class and was about to start a new position at a local hospital.”

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She had graduated from nursing school earlier this month and was slated to start work at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute next month. Friends describe her as compassionate and enthusiastic about nursing.

Danielle Bourque met Rachael during their first year of nursing school. She, another student named Dakota Bergem and Rachael were like the “three musketeers.”

“We graduated Dec. 8. She just recently got a job in the ICU at the Mazankowski. She was supposed to start Jan. 3,” Bourque said.

She had been talking to Rachael the day she died.

“I was just sitting at home. I had been [Snapchatting] Rachael all day and noticed that she hadn’t responded to me in a really long time and that the snaps were unopened. I felt like something was wrong,” Bourque said.

A childhood friend of Rachael’s then told her what happened.

“I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it honestly. I didn’t believe it for the first five minutes. [This friend] had to really talk me into believing it because I was just sitting there in disbelief, saying ‘No this couldn’t happen to someone like her,’” she said.

Bourque said the loss of her close friend is hard, especially because Rachael was so excited about her future.

“We had so many plans. She had so many goals. We talked everyday in our group chat and she was so excited to be starting her job,” Bourque said.

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“It’s really hard. It hurts a lot to talk about it. It’s hard to conceptualize a life without her.”

Bourque said Rachael stood out.

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“Anyone who’s ever met her can say she has an infectious personality. She was always the person everyone loved the most. She met people and her enthusiasm and passion for nursing and learning just spread so easily,” Bourque said.

Dakota Bergem initially met Rachael in high school, but the two became close after starting nursing school together.

“She was amazing. Of anyone I’ve ever met, she excelled at everything, whether it was nursing school itself, she was one of the top students in our class,” Bergem said. “She was one of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met. She would always be there for her friends and family no matter what. If I ever needed something, Rachael was there.”

Bergem was also slated to start work at Mazankowski in Jan. but said it is now hard to fathom doing that without her close friend.

“I still don’t even want to believe it. I want to be able to call her, to make a call and have her pick up the phone and make plans for next week,” Bergem said. “It’s pretty hard to process it. It doesn’t really seem believable right now.”

Bergem said the loss of Rachael runs deep.

“I feel like, of our trio, our pillars – we’re now missing a pillar of our trio. Danielle [and I] are there. She should be there and she’s not,” Bergem said.

Both Bergem and Bourque said plans are in the works to hold a vigil next week.

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An autopsy has been scheduled for Thursday.

This is Edmonton’s 41st homicide in 2016.