Tears flow at candlelight vigil

A candle is placed among many others at a candlelight vigil in Peace River Oct. 10 for Jennifer Donovan, who was murdered Oct. 8.

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

The tragic murder of a Peace River woman Oct. 8 has sent shockwaves through the community.

RCMP responded to a report of an injured woman in the early hours of Oct. 8. Upon arrival, they found the body of Jennifer Donovan, 37.

Police temporarily closed part of 77 Avenue between 98 and 99 St. to traffic and pedestrians while they investigated. The area was closed until Oct. 9 at 4 p.m.

An autopsy has since confirmed Donovan was murdered. The investigation is now being handled by the major crimes unit.

On Oct. 10 a large group of family and friends gathered in front of the chain link fence where Donovan was found to pray, place flowers, and honour her memory. As they grieved, Elder Dennis Whitford drummed and a guitarist softly played You Are My Sunshine.

“They say the good die young and I just never thought it would be someone so close to me,” says Donovan’s common law partner, Ben Eastman.

Eastman thanks everyone in the community for coming together, including his boss Jeremy Hand at Avenge Energy who flew him back from Fort McMurray.

“I couldn’t ask for better support from you guys,” says Eastman. “I just want to say she’s gone to a better place.”

Donovan is also survived by her three children.

Shelly Mercredi, sister of the children’s father Kevin, handed out candles at the vigil.

Sisters in Spirit organizer Wendy Goulet says Donovan has been at the walks in the past in support of missing and murdered indigenous women. Now she has become yet another victim.

“It’s our worst reality as Indigenous when we live it. Like we know we are more likely to be murdered, stolen, if that makes sense,” Goulet says.

After the vigil, those who knew Donovan gathered to look at pictures of her and share their memories.

RCMP ask that if anyone has any information, heard or saw anything suspicious in the area of 98 Street and 77 Avenue, to contact Peace River RCMP at [780] 624-6677. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at [1-800] 222-8477.

Jennifer Donovan

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