B.C. woman found dead in her Sydney, Australia apartment remembered as ‘kindest, sweetest’ person

Click to play video: 'Vigil for B.C. woman found dead in Australia'
Vigil for B.C. woman found dead in Australia
Friends and family of a B.C. woman are in mourning a week after she was found dead in her Sydney, Australia apartment. As Julia Foy reports, the tragic case of Tatiana Dokhotaru highlights issues of domestic violence as well as concerns for how long it took police to respond to a call for help. – Jun 4, 2023

Friends and family of a B.C. woman are in mourning a week after she was found dead in her Sydney, Australia apartment.

Amber Haleta has spent days creating posters covered with pictures of 34-year-old Tatiana Dokhotaru, a friend she met in Surrey, B.C., more than a decade ago.

“(She was) kindest, sweetest, most loving, (and) caring,” Haleta said.

“She was the first person to take me to the gym, to show me designer clothes. She was full of life.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. woman’s death investigation in Australia'
B.C. woman’s death investigation in Australia

Dokhotaru moved to Australia in 2012. She married a man named Danny Zayat, and together they had a son.

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Haleta alleges Dokhotaru soon began to complain about domestic abuse and sent videos of her injuries.

“The reason she didn’t call the police sooner is because she said, ‘I can’t take (my son) away from his (father). I can’t have my son not have a father, ” Haleta told Global News.

“And ultimately, she lost her life.”

The mother and son came back to Vancouver to visit her parents last summer. She then allegedly got a restraining order against Zayat and moved out of the home they were sharing, according to Haleta.

But on May 27, she was found dead in her new Sydney, Australia apartment. Haleta told Global News Dokhotaru’s four-year-old son and estranged husband were in the home when police arrived.

Zayat, 28, is facing charges related to domestic violence but has not been charged in Dokhotaru’s death. He is also facing charges of stalking or intimidating with intent to cause fear of physical harm, contravening a prohibition or restriction in an apprehended violence order, and destroying or damaging property.

“The man continues to assist police with their inquiries, as Liverpool City detectives and State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad detectives investigate the circumstances surrounding the woman’s death under Strike Force Midian,” New South Wales police said in a release. He has been denied bail.

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Click to play video: 'Maple Ridge resident found dead, police deem death suspicious'
Maple Ridge resident found dead, police deem death suspicious

The investigation continues into the cause of Dokhotaru’s death and a secondary independent review has been opened.

Police said an anonymous call was made nearly 20 hours before the body was found. The call reported a domestic dispute. Police said they searched the building for the source of the anonymous call but were unable to locate the caller.

“Throughout the day, police continued to make inquiries to locate the source of the call,” police said.

“About 8 p.m., officers were called to a unit on Norfolk Street, Liverpool, where they located the body of a 34-year-old woman inside.”

For Sunday, Haleta has organized a candlelight vigil at Surrey’s Holland Park, near the apartment tower where the two young women spent happy years together.

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Dokhotaru’s parents will be in attendance.

“She met people all over the world and they fell in love with her instantly,” Haleta said. “There was nothing not to love about her.”

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