The 18-year-old son of an Ottawa woman that died after her throat was slashed has been charged with first-degree murder.

Chris Gobin appeared in an Ottawa courtroom Wednesday morning to face the charge.

He is accused of slashing the throat of his mother, Luce Lavertu, in their Orleans home and leaving her to die on Tuesday.

Police sources told CBC News that Lavertu had already been dead for several hours when her husband discovered her body and called 911. 

chris gobin first-degree murder luce lavertu

Chris Gobin, 18, appeared in court Wednesday on a charge of first-degree murder. (Laurie Foster-MacLeod)

Her son was home at the time but left when his father found the body, according to police sources. Police recovered a knife from the home.

Lavertu ran My Vintage Cat Studio, a scrapbooking business. Her friends gathered Wednesday to remember a woman they described as a generous "mother bear," who would do anything to support her adolescent son as he struggled through a difficult time in his youth.

"Luce was a wonderful woman. She was just a little person, tons of energy and a creative force. She was a real artist," Mireille Groleau told CBC News. "But I think most of all she was a wonderful mother. She worked tirelessly to get services and help for her son."

Groleau said it's unfortunate that there are not more services to support mental health.

"We talk a lot about mental health but we don't do much," Groleau said. "There's not a mother who could have done more, as much as her out of love for her son."

"It breaks our hearts," she added.

Before starting a scrapbooking business, Lavertu worked at the Military Family Resource Centre in Ottawa for nearly 12 years. A spokesperson for the centre said Lavertu was one of first youth coordinators, leading recreational and social programs. She left that position in April 2011.

Gobin 'struggling with a very difficult situation,' lawyer says

Chris Gobin wore a white prison jumpsuit when he appeared in court via video link from the cell block on Wednesday. 

Police told CBC News that prisoners dressed in white jumpsuits are considered at risk to cause themselves harm.

Gobin's lawyer, Sam Adam, said "it's too early in the process" to determine whether or not a mental health assessment will be requested. Adam said he has "no information" about whether the white jumpsuit is an indication that his client is on suicide watch.

"I understand that the police likely would have seized his clothing, so that would be the replacement garb they would have given him," Adam said. "I don't believe that the fact that his clothing were seized has any real impact on whether (police) are concerned about mental health issues or not." 

Gobin is "struggling with a very difficult situation," Adam said.

"It's obviously a very tragic situation and all I can say is that he's trying to process what's going on right now," Adam said.

The Ottawa Catholic School board said their crisis response team and counsellors will be at St. Peter High School, where Gobin is a student.

"The school community's prayers are with the victim’s family, friends and the Avalon/Orleans area," it said in a statement, adding it is working with the Ottawa police during their investigation.

Gobin is scheduled to appear in court again on Apr. 30.