Victim of fatal Toronto stabbing remembered as a ‘beautiful’ woman who loved to travel

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Victim killed in Toronto stabbing remembered by family as ‘beautiful’ woman who loved to travel
WATCH: Victim killed in Toronto stabbing remembered by family as ‘beautiful’ woman who loved to travel – Dec 9, 2022

The mother of a woman killed in a stabbing attack on a Toronto subway train earlier this week says her daughter was a “beautiful” and “happy” woman who loved to travel.

Thirty-one-year-old Vanessa Kurpiewska died in hospital after she and another woman were stabbed on a subway train near High Park station Thursday afternoon.

The other woman, a 37-year-old, has since been released from hospital.

Dorota Kurpiewska said her only child Vanessa was living with her at the time of the incident.

According to Dorota, Vanessa was on her way home from a dentist appointment when the attack occurred.

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She said her daughter had taken an Uber to the appointment, but had likely chosen to take the subway because it was still daytime.

Dorota said Vanessa was a “careful” woman, and would mostly use Uber to get around the city, especially at night.

“She was very cautious,” Dorota said, adding that she would “keep her head down” and “avoid conflict.”

Dorota said police knocked on her door at around 3 p.m. on Thursday and let her know Vanessa had been killed.

“They told me she was gone,” she said through tears.

Dorota said her daughter was born with cerebral palsy and used a wheelchair until she was around eight or nine years old.

She then learned to use a walker, but had been walking without one since she was 12.

Dorota said her daughter overcame a lot of challenges. She said Vanessa was bullied as a child due to her condition.

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Vanessa was “happy,” but had “bad days and good days like everybody,” Dorota said.

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Dorta said her daughter loved to travel, and had returned from a trip to the Bahamas a few weeks ago. She was planning another trip to New York City early next year.

Dorota said her daughter didn’t work, but was “quite independent.”

“She wanted to do things herself, as much as possible,” she said.

Vanessa had recently began streaming online to try to save money to travel, Dorota said.

“She was stubborn. If she set her mind to something … she did it,” Dorota said. “She did a lot of it on her own.”

Click to play video: '1 woman dead, another injured in stabbing at Toronto subway station'
1 woman dead, another injured in stabbing at Toronto subway station

On Friday, police identified the accused as 52-year-old Neng Jia Jin. Global News has learned through court documents that Jin has no fixed address.

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He has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder and appeared in court on Friday.

According to police, Kurpiewska did not know her attacker.

Dorota said she is angry about her daughter’s death.

“I’m disappointed in this goddamn city,” she said. “Public transportation is supposed to be safe. I would have never thought in a million years that (Vanessa) would die like this.”

Vanessa Kurpiewska.
Vanessa Kurpiewska. Global News / provided

Speaking at an unrelated press conference on Friday, Toronto Mayor John Tory called the incident a “tragedy,” but said the city’s transit system was still safe for riders.

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“It was a horrific event,” he said. “I don’t underestimate that at all, but the TTC remains a very safe system that moves millions of people every day.”

Tory pledged to meet next week with the city’s police chief and the chief executive of the Toronto Transit Commission to discuss what else could be done to bolster transit safety.

In a statement Thursday, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) said its thoughts were “with the victims and their families, friends and loved ones at this difficult time.”

“TTC CEO Rick Leary spoke to Toronto Police Chief James Ramer this afternoon and, as always, offered our full support as his officers investigate,” the statement read.

The TTC said the safety of its customers and employees is “paramount to all the TTC does.”

The TTC said additional special constables and uniformed staff would be placed in the system to “reassure customers travelling” Thursday afternoon.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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