Missing woman Holly Hamilton found dead, man arrested

Hamilton police announced Wednesday afternoon that missing woman Holly Hamilton has been found dead.

29-year-old was an amazing mother, friend, sister and daughter, family member says

Hamilton police found the body of Holly Hamilton Wednesday afternoon. (Facebook)

Hamilton police say they have found the body of Holly Hamilton, who had been reported missing by her family after last being seen on Sunday. 

Const. Jerome Stewart confirmed that Hamilton's body was discovered in her car Wednesday, shortly after police found the vehicle in an east-end parking garage.

A man has been arrested in connection with her death, police said, adding that the investigation is "still ongoing."

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and everyone that Holly Hamilton has touched," Stewart said. "The Hamilton Police Service would like to thank the public for their assistance over the past few days in sharing information about Holly and providing valuable tips to police.

"The investigation is ongoing, and as such, more information will be provided in the following days."

Hamilton's body was discovered on Wednesday in a car in a parking garage, police say. (Facebook)

Hamilton, 29, was last seen near her ex-boyfriend's apartment. The two have a daughter together and the girl is currently safe with her grandparents, police said. Hamilton worked for a cleaning service, but didn't show up for work Monday.

At a news conference Tuesday, Staff Sgt. Dave Oleniuk told reporters that homicide detectives were trying to find her 30-year-old ex-boyfriend. There was a history of violence in their relationship, he said.

Police have not released the man's name, but Oleniuk said Tuesday that he was not a suspect. On Wednesday, Stewart said he could not say if it was Hamilton's ex-boyfriend who had been arrested. The suspect is scheduled to appear in court Thursday morning, when charges will be laid.

"At that time, we will be providing additional information regarding the person who has been arrested," Stewart said.

Search party turned into a vigil

What was supposed to be a search party turned into a candlelight vigil on Wednesday night.

People gather outside the apartment of Hamilton's ex-boyfriend on Wednesday night. (Rob Krbavac/CBC)

Friends and family gathered outside the apartment of Hamilton's ex-boyfriend. Police would not say whether he was involved with her death, but they were guarding the area heavily that evening.

Friends and family created a makeshift memorial at the spot Hamilton was last seen. (Rob Krbavac/CBC)

A teddy bear, pictures and candles were placed around a telephone pole, while the small crowd held hands in a circle.

Kelli Ruetch, who has lived in the building for four years, said she will make sure there are candles burning continuously until Sunday in honour of the 29-year-old.

Candles will be kept lit until Sunday at a memorial for Holly Hamilton. (Rob Krbavac/CBC)

"This is our way of saying we will stand by," she said.

Hamilton used to babysit for the children of Maria Balagtas, who arrived that evening expecting to get out her flashlight and "go search."

Maria Balagtas said Holly Hamilton used to babysit her children. (Rob Krbavac/CBC)

"That's why coming out to talk is overwhelming," she explained through tears.

Balagtas' daughter, Ashley Potter, said Hamilton "didn't deserve what happened to her at all."

"I can tell you with all my heart she was a very warm person," Potter said.

'I am all out of words'

As news of her death spread, tributes to Hamilton poured in online, as those close to her reacted to the news.

"As a family we thank you for your prayers and continuous efforts to spread the word," wrote Hamilton's niece, Julia. "My aunt [Holly] will be sadly missed by all of us. We were close in age and grew up as sisters. She was an amazing mother, friend, sister and daughter. At this time we pray for God to strengthen us.

"I am all out of words."

Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton director Lenore Lukasik-Foss tweeted about Hamilton's death as well.

"I am deeply saddened and angry," she wrote. "Another woman is dead and a child is without a mama; and it looks like a situation of domestic violence. This must stop. We must act."

adam.carter@cbc.ca

About the Author

Adam Carter

Reporter, CBC Hamilton

Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Hamilton home. He enjoys a good story and playing loud music in dank bars. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.

With files from Greg Ross and Ieva Lucs.