Members of Rachel Quinney's family marked the fourth anniversary of the discovery of the young woman's body Wednesday with a candlelight vigil, as they dealt with the news that the Crown will not appeal the acquittal of the man accused of killing her.
Quinney was 19 when her mutilated body was found in a wooded area east of Edmonton in May 2004. Last week, Thomas Svekla was acquitted on charges of second-degree murder in the prostitute's death. He was convicted of killing another prostitute, Theresa Innes, 36, whose body was found in a hockey bag belonging to Svekla in 2006.
"The pain will never go away. It will always be there," Delia Quinney told CBC News Wednesday.
"In the morning when I get up I have her picture there. I always say good morning and I love her, you know. I still send my love to her and give her a kiss even though, you know, [it's] just a picture."
Last night, family members released balloons and butterflies, and they remembered Rachel at a ceremony near Edmonton's inner city.
"She just had the most amazing smile. She lit up a room when she walked in. She always spoke her mind and made the jokes and laughed, danced, sang," her sister Arlene Quinney remembered.
It's a memory she says helps block out the bad things that happened to Rachel during her life.
"Rachel was a human being and she was my sister. In my eyes, she was not the drug addict. She was not a hooker, a prostitute. In my eyes, she was my sister."
Crown prosecutor Ashley Finlayson told CBC News Wednesday he is not recommending an appeal of Svekla's acquittal in the Quinney case.
Quinney's family says they will now do their best to move on with their lives.
But Delia Quinney said she will never be convinced that Thomas Svekla was not involved in her daughter's death.
"The only way that we can get closure on this is if we hear it from him, that he actually done this. And I hope that one day he does man up to and say, yeah, he done this."