Manitoba

Cooper Nemeth brings up 'every negative emotion' for mother of T.J. Wiebe

Cooper Nemeth’s death is "heartbreaking, horrifying, [and] saddening," for Karen Wiebe, mother of murder victim T.J. Wiebe.

T.J. Wiebe was murdered in 2003 after getting involved in Winnipeg's illegal drug trade

Karen Wiebe, mother of murder victim T.J. Wiebe, was 'heartbroken' to hear of Cooper Nemeth's death. The teen was nicknamed Cip. (CBC)

Cooper Nemeth's death is "heartbreaking, horrifying, [and] saddening," said Karen Wiebe, the mother of murder victim T.J. Wiebe.

Police discovered the body of Nemeth, 17, on Saturday. They are treating the case as a homicide.

"It's fair to say" Nemeth's death was drug related," said Winnipeg police deputy chief Danny Smyth on Sunday.

It's an all too familiar story for Wiebe whose son was murdered in 2003 at age 20 after getting involved in Winnipeg's illegal drug trade.

Hearing about Nemeth's death brought up "every negative emotion you can think of" for Wiebe.

Murder 'a life sentence' for families

Wiebe said while the immediate aftermath of losing a child is devastating, Nemeth's parents may have to face even more difficult times ahead.

"The worst thing is losing your kid," she said. Court appearances, listening to testimony, and future parole hearings, only add to the pain Nemeth's parents will have to endure, she said.

"It's a life sentence for the family," said Wiebe.

Through her son's story, Wiebe wants parents and youth to grasp the gravity of drug use. Even kids raised to avoid illegal activity may be tempted to experiment with drugs and even start dealing, she said.

"We had not brought our kids up with any idea they would ever be involved in drugs," said Wiebe.

If she could go back to before her son was murdered, Wiebe said she would not have given him a black and white ultimatum. At the time, she and her husband told T.J. he had to either get rid of the drugs or move out. Now, she said, she understands more about the power of addiction.

"Kids involved in drugs need to have as many doors open to them as possible," she said.

Three years after T.J.'s death, Wiebe and her late husband Floyd Wiebe started TJ's Gift Foundation to increase drug and addiction awareness among youth.

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