The family of Ally Moosehunter, also known as Ally Witchekan, remembered her as kind-hearted, sweet and full of joy.
She was also a beloved nine-year employee of Fire Creek Gas & Grill on 20th Street West. Some of her customers drove 150 kilometres to be at her recent wake at Sturgeon Lake First Nation.
“She was always happy and had a sense of humour. The customers loved her,” said Amanda Witchekan, Ally’s cousin.
Ally had four brothers and sisters, Amanda said. She will never forget the woman’s smile.
“It’s such a tragic loss.”
Family members grasped tissues as they sat in a Saskatoon courtroom for the first appearance of the man accused of killing the 28-year-old. Ivan Roberto Martell, charged with second-degree murder in Ally’s death, made a brief appearance by video.
The 29-year-old also faces a charge of offering an indignity to human remains.
Martell’s next court appearance is scheduled for March 24.
Martell and Ally had been in a relationship, but family said they had were broken up at the time of the woman’s death. Her body was found inside a Hampton Village home in the 500 block of Geary Crescent on March 4.
Co-workers knew something was wrong when Ally didn’t show up to work. She’d never been a no-show in her nine years at Fire Creek, according to family.
On March 5, Saskatoon police asked for the public’s help finding Martell as he may have been “able to provide valuable information with respect to the investigation.”
Lenora Felix, a neighbour and family friend, set up a crowdfunding campaign to help Ally’s family cover costs. Her four-day wake included food, tobacco and drummers who require honorariums.
“We’d like to have a beautiful headstone for Ally when it’s time, as well, to honour her,” Felix said.
One day, if there’s enough money, there could be a scholarship in Ally’s name, Felix said.
“At 28 years old, she had her whole life to live.”