A female youth has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of a 13-year-old girl on Friday night.
Just after 11 p.m., police were called to the area of 75 Street and Mount Lawn Road in the Eastwood neighbourhood for a report of an assault. The area is located just a few blocks north of the old Coliseum arena.
Officers arrived and found a female youth with serious injuries. The girl was treated and taken to hospital by paramedics where she was pronounced dead. The victim has been identified by her family as Sierra Bailey Rain Chalifoux Thompson.
“We want her name to be heard and repeated over and over again until justice is served,” the teen’s aunt Fran Chalifoux said in a statement to Global News Monday afternoon.
“We’re thankful to the public for all the information they have forwarded to us and to the police.”
Staff Sgt. Brenda Dalziel with the EPS homicide section said Monday afternoon that police have received a lot of tips from the public. Dalziel also noted that police are aware of information circulating on social media.
“I would also like to remind the public that homicide section needs to rely on facts of the case, validity, reliable sources,” she said.
“In most homicide investigations, I wouldn’t say it’s unusual for social media to be used to communicate around files and investigations and especially given the generation and the youthfulness of everyone involved here, they naturally are going to go to social media and start to talk and share information. I would just warn the public that we can’t speculate — not everything that we read online is going to be the truth. Homicide investigators need to do their job to make sure that what we pursue as evidence is factual and we will be doing that.”
Dalziel couldn’t comment on any further details of the case, but said police are talking to a number of witnesses to ensure “they have all the facts in the case.”
She said the girl’s death is a tragedy for everyone involved.
“This is a really difficult situation for homicide investigators, for first responders, for the EMS that attended and of course it’s a tragedy for the family, and both families in this case.”
Dalziel wouldn’t speak to the nature of the girl’s injuries. An autopsy has been scheduled for Thursday.
On Monday afternoon, the Edmonton Police Service announced a female youth has been charged with second-degree murder in the 13-year-old’s death.
“There was no close relationship but through close associates, they knew each other.”
On Monday evening, Sierra’s mother, Angela Chalifoux, said her daughter and the accused used to be friends.
“It’s a shame that she was so young to be charged with this,” she said, adding that police told her Sunday night that an arrest had been made.
“It was a little bit of relief but still not really because it’s never going to bring her back or anything.”
Angela said her daughter loved drawing, music and being with family. She was known for sticking up for kids who were being bullied, her mother explained.
“When she walked into any room, she just lit it up,” Angela said. “She was such a little goofball.”
Sierra’s grandmother, Catherine Chalifoux, said whenever anyone in the family was feeling down, she would “come there and do something and just burst out laughing.”
Angela said she appreciates all the support her family has received from the community.
“Thank you guys so much,” she said.
“It warms my heart knowing that other people have been touched by her story.”
She said that in general, she believes more should be done to give youths in Edmonton activities and avenues to keep them out of trouble, especially amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A GoFundMe is raising money for Sierra’s funeral costs.
As per the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the accused cannot be named because she is underage. Her age was also not provided by the EPS on Monday.
Police are asking anyone with information on the assault or what might have led to it to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.
“Police are looking for witnesses and we continue to look for video in the area. So if anyone in this area does have anything that would assist us with the investigation, I’d ask them to bring that forward to us,” Dalziel said.
–With files from Global News’ Phil Heidenreich