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Edmonton mother accused of killing daughter reportedly struggled with mental health issues

More details on Edmonton mother accused in daughter’s death
WATCH ABOVE: Loved ones say that the Edmonton woman charged in the death of her daughter was struggling with mental health issues. Julia Wong has more.

A small memorial sits outside a house in west Edmonton where a young nursing student was killed, allegedly by her mother who is now facing second-degree murder charges.

Candles, flowers, a stuffed animal and a card sit on the steps of the house at 122 Avenue and 132 Street in memory of Rachael Longridge.

The 21-year-old nursing student at the University of Alberta had graduated earlier this month and was slated to start work at the Mazankowski in January.

READ MORE: Friends identify victim killed in northwest Edmonton altercation

One of the cards reads: “It’s faith that lifts us up, love that brings us comfort and strength that allows us to move on.”

Candles, flowers, a stuffed animal and a card make up the memorial for Rachael Longridge.
Candles, flowers, a stuffed animal and a card make up the memorial for Rachael Longridge. Julia Wong/Global News
Candles, flowers, a stuffed animal and a card make up the memorial for Rachael Longridge.
Candles, flowers, a stuffed animal and a card make up the memorial for Rachael Longridge. Julia Wong/Global News

Police said they were initially called to the house for an assault around 4:30 on Dec. 23; Rachael was found with severe injuries and died at the scene.

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Rachael (middle) sits with her friends Danielle Bourque (right) and Dakota Bergem (left). The pair was like the Three Musketeers.
Rachael (middle) sits with her friends Danielle Bourque (right) and Dakota Bergem (left). The pair was like the Three Musketeers. Courtesy/Danielle Bourque
Rachael (left) had recently graduated from nursing school.
Rachael (left) had recently graduated from nursing school. Courtesy/Danielle Bourque
Friends say Rachael helped them get through nursing school.
Friends say Rachael helped them get through nursing school. Courtesy/Danielle Bourque
Danielle (left) said Rachael (right) had an infectious personality.
Danielle (left) said Rachael (right) had an infectious personality. Courtesy/Danielle Bourque
Dakota Bergem (left) knew Rachael (right) from high school but got to know her better when both started nursing school.
Dakota Bergem (left) knew Rachael (right) from high school but got to know her better when both started nursing school. Courtesy/Dakota Bergem
Friends say Rachael, 21, was passionate about life and enthusiastic about her nursing career.
Friends say Rachael, 21, was passionate about life and enthusiastic about her nursing career. Courtesy/Danielle Bourque
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Rachael was slated to start work at the Mazankowski Heart Institute in January.
Rachael was slated to start work at the Mazankowski Heart Institute in January. Courtesy/Danielle Bourque

Her mother, Christine Longridge, was taken into custody and is now facing charges of second-degree murder and possession of an offensive weapon.

Neighbours and friends said Rachael’s father passed away last year and that her mother had been struggling with mental health issues.

A GoFundMe page set up for Rachael’s brother states that Christine Longridge had been trying to manage bipolar disorder.

“On Dec. 23, 2016 a tragedy struck a family that has experienced so many life challenges, from the long suffering and death of Rachael and Michael’s dad due to cancer in December of 2015, to the ongoing mental health condition that their mom was diagnosed with and tried to manage for the last 18 years,” reads the excerpt on GoFundMe.

“Rachael just graduated as a nurse with marks at the top of her class. She spent her last hours on this earth caring for her mother who has suffered from a diagnosed mental health condition namely bipolar.  The last moments of her life were filled with compassion and care. Her mother’s illness was something that she understood and accepted.”

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“Her relationship with her mother was very complex. She loved her mother. Her mother loved her,” Rachael’s friend Danielle Bourque said.

“I met her on multiple occasions and stayed over for dinner. Her mother really struggled with the passing of her father, with mental illness.”

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Friend Dakota Bergem said Rachael had a close relationship with her mother.

“She was pretty close to her mom. It was after her dad passed away. Her brother and her mom were pretty close,” she said.

Danielle Bourque said supporting her mother took a toll on Rachael.

“The tragedy in this, I find, is the lack of support from the health system because Rachael had been struggling for a really long time with supporting her mother,” she said.

“She was in it by herself and she should have never been put in that position.”

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A vigil is being planned for Wednesday at the University of Alberta. It will take place in front of the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy at 6:30 p.m.

Police would not comment on whether mental health issues are a factor in their investigation.

No cause of death has been released. An autopsy has been scheduled for Thursday.

Longridge’s first court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 10, 2017 in Edmonton.