The trial of a man charged with the murder of a Japanese student will start on Monday.
Natsumi Kogawa, 30, came to Vancouver to study English but she was reported missing in September 2016.
Her body was found a few weeks later at the Gabriola Mansion, a historic building in Vancouver’s west end.
Forty-nine-year-old William Schneider was previously charged with indignity to a human body. Crown counsel has now laid an additional charge of second-degree murder.
Schneider was arrested by the RCMP in Vernon on the same day that Kogawa’s body was found.
WATCH: Friend of a murdered Japanese student speaks out
In an exclusive interview with Global News in December 2016, Kogawa’s close friend Jay Vergara shared how amazing his friend was and how hard she worked to come to Canada.
“Her dream was to come to Canada,” Vergara said.
“She took her time to save a lot of money to come to Canada and she always wanted to study abroad. This was the culmination of her biggest goal to come here to study.”
Vergara, who met Kogawa in May, was the person who reported her missing and organized search parties. Although their time together was short, the pair saw each other several times a week, and he says there are a lot of things he’ll miss about his friend.
“Her determination, how bright she was, how positive she was,” an emotional Vergara said. “I miss how every time she would come into a room, everyone would brighten it up. She’s like the centre of the room. I miss her a lot.”