Vanessa Ladouceur was no more than 50 steps from safety when she was brutally attacked by a man Calgary police say she didn’t know.
Ladouceur was doing what she did every weekday morning, making her way to work as a personal trainer at the corporate office building downtown.
Friend Lainey Bennett said the two worked together several years ago at a spin cycle studio and quickly became best friends. Bennett said she’s still in disbelief that a terrifying assault took her friend’s life.
“It feels not real that something so violent could happen to such a nice human,” Bennett said.
“She was the person that always made you feel heard.
“We would laugh until we are crying. She’s just a light in this world and one of the most caring people that I’ve ever met,” Bennett said.
A memorial of stuffed animals and flowers sits inside the building where she worked, Palliser South.
“It’s so hard to picture what someone that you care about so deeply could’ve gone through, hearing such an insane crime happening,” Bennett added.
Calgary police have charged 26-year-old Micheal John Adenyi with first-degree murder.
Staff Sgt. Sean Gregson said investigators are trying to find out what motivated a stranger to attack a defenseless young woman.
“We want to put a reasoning and a why to this and in this case, none of us can come to that. It’s a random, senseless, cowardly act of violence that makes no sense to anybody,” Gregson said.
“It didn’t appear this was a mistake. It was a deliberate act of violence that held to the first-degree murder charge.”
A close family friend, Margaret Cicley said she spoke to Ladouceur the night before she died, not knowing it would be the last time she would hear her voice.
“I was the last person that spoke to her. The next minute I know, she’s gone. Gone. I couldn’t breathe when her mom told me,” Cicley said.
“She was going to run a race, she was going to do an Ironman. It’s just such a senseless act.”
She said Vanessa was an old soul and intuitive.
“She was fun and quirky and insightful. There’s not a memory I have of her that’s not fun.”
Adenyi is scheduled in court on March 30.