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Joey English, 25, was so close to her mom that when Stephanie English didn’t hear from her daughter in June 2016, she immediately knew something was wrong.
“I just had this really gut feeling something wasn’t right,” Stephanie English said.
She grew worried and started to make calls to the Calgary Police Service, but it wasn’t until the third or fourth call that police finally took her seriously, she said.
“As soon as I said she was First Nations, it wasn’t important. It was, ‘Well, we’ll call you back.’ I was going crazy there,” English said.
Parts of Joey’s body were later found in a grassy area in Calgary.
At the time, the Calgary Police Service said they did not believe Joey’s death was criminal in nature. It was later discovered that she died of an overdose.
Joshua Jordan Weise, 40, was charged with offering an indignity to human remains and pleaded guilty in November 2017.
Joey was at his house when she died. Weise was not home at the time and returned to find she had died from a drug overdose. He dismembered her body, placed it in garbage bags and a suitcase and discarded them in several locations.
On April 12, 2017, a judge sentenced Weise to 18 months in jail plus a three-year period of probation with substance abuse treatment also ordered.
English believes her daughter knew Weise for about a year.
The police searched a landfill for the rest of Joey’s body, but they were unsuccessful and the search was called off after four months. English believes they only stopped searching because they’re Indigenous.
"If I was a different colour race, they'd keep searching. I know that," she said.
Joey had three children and was living with her mother in Calgary at the time of her death.
Her younger sister, Alison English, died just one year earlier. Although Rocky Mountain RCMP say Alison’s death was suicide, Stephanie English doesn’t agree.
In connection with Joey’s death, English said only one detective from the police service was helpful, but other than that, she did not receive updates.
“You know, honestly, if I was a white woman, everything would have been solved,” English said before Weise was convicted.
“I feel my skin is not white enough to be handled in a civil way, as equal.”
On Oct. 25, 2016, the family buried the partial remains of Joey on the Piikani Nation, located near Brocket, Alta.
She is buried next to her younger sister, Alison.
While the family continues to struggle with the deaths of the sisters, Stephanie English holds a memory of Joey close to her heart.
“When we moved back to the reserve, I was asked to be a keynote speaker at this gathering, and we went to Nakoda Lodge up in Morley [Alberta],” English said.
She remembers walking around a little pond in the morning with Joey just before she was to speak, and stopping to pick some sage. Feeling nervous about her speech, the two lit the sage - and although Stephanie remembers no wind earlier, at that moment, a warm and gentle breeze came between them.
“I just looked at my daughter and we just smiled,” English said.
“She just said, ‘Mom, you’re gonna be awesome. You’re going to be great.’”
It was a special moment, she said, a moment she will never forget.
CBC News continues to investigate missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada, looking at the unsolved cases and telling the stories of the families and communities.