A year after a Jolene Cote was found dead at her home, her family says they haven’t given up hope that they’ll find out what happened to the Spruce Grove teacher.
"I really believe that there are people out there that know things that have not come forward yet," said Rhonda Berg, Cote’s sister.
"We just are pleading and hoping and praying that they do come forward."
'We wake up every morning still in this nightmare that we cannot escape.' —Rhonda Berg, Jolene Cote's sister
Cote, 36, was found dead by her husband at the couple’s rural home on Oct. 13, 2011.
Police haven’t said how Cote was killed, nor have they talked about suspects in the killing. It is not considered a random attack.
Berg says her sister was a popular teacher at the Spruce Grove school where she taught Grade 9.
Since the killing, the family has put up a $50,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction.
Despite the reward, and the tips it has generated, the case remains unsolved. Berg says the past year and living with the uncertainty of what happened to her sister has been "a torment."
"We just constantly wonder what happened, who did this, why?" she said.
"Hopefully once we get some information and we find out what happened …. that part of it will be put to rest, and hopefully we can start to try and put our lives back together as best we can."
She says the year has been especially hard on Cote's two young children.
"They don't have their mommy to read them stories and tuck them in and rub their backs until they sleep like they used to," she said.
"It's horrible for them. It will change who they are as people forever."
Investigation remains open
Police have released few details in the case while they investigate.
RCMP Sgt. Shawn LeMay says solving Cote’s killing is a top priority.
"I can reassure her family, her loved ones, all who knew her, that we are assertively pursuing every possibility. The investigation is ongoing and we're not going to stop until we find out what happened to her on that day," said RCMP Sgt. Shawn LeMay.
Earlier this year, the RCMP released video showing Cote entering an Edmonton Wal-Mart on her way home the night before her body was found.
They’ve asked that anyone who saw Cote that night, or her silver 2002 Jeep Liberty, to contact police.
Investigators also say that some of her jewellery, including her wedding band and engagement ring, have been missing since her death.
Berg says she’s confident police will make an arrest, which she says will be closure to the family.
"We wake up every morning still in this nightmare that we cannot escape. Our lives are changed forever," she said.
A private memorial for Cote will be held Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of her death.