Slain Winnipeg woman remembered as 'happy, outgoing' as family and friends mourn devastating loss
Norma Andrews leaves behind two young sons who friends say 'meant the world' to her
A sidewalk in Winnipeg's downtown filled with tears, sorrow and love for their lost one Monday night, as families and friends mourned the death of Norma 'Bambi' Andrews.
Two days ago, Winnipeg Police were called to a home on Balmoral Street, between Sargent and Cumberland Avenues where they found the 28-year-old dead in a home.
Andrews hails from God's River First Nation, and leaves behind two young sons, David and Julian, who "meant the world" to her, according to her friends.
Friend Thamer Garson said she knew Andrews for years, growing close over the past year.
Garson said she saw Andrews Friday night, and said she was invited to the home where police later found her friend's body.
"I was with her the night before this happened. She was trying to get me to come here," she said.
"When I found I was shocked and devastated because I couldn't believe how someone could do such a terrible thing to such a beautiful person, she didn't deserve this," said Garson.
"I wish justice happens for her."
Andrews' homicide is the 29th this year in the city of Winnipeg, a number that has already eclipsed the total number of homicides in 2018.
Police have not described how Andrews died, but some friends expressed concern about people she had been spending time with.
'Our heart has been broke'
At the vigil, as the crowd grew to close to 70 people, they were led into prayer by Norma's grandfather, Rudy Okemaw.
"As a family we would like to thank you for showing up for Norma ... I know our heart has been broke, and I know God is going to replace it," he said.
Norma's father, Larry Andrews, shared words with the crowd following the prayer and drum ceremonies.
"I wouldn't know what to say, I never expected this to happen," said Larry Andrews as he wept. He and other relatives had just arrived at the vigil after making the drive in from Thunder Bay.
'Happy' and 'good' person
Friends gathered spoke about how much Andrews would do for others. A group of them gathered in a circle to share their memories with CBC News.
"She had a great impact on people, she was such a wonderful person and she had a great spirit," said Marlene Bussidor.
"She was loved by many, and she's going to be missed by many."
Wearing a black hoodie with tears streaming down her face and her voice cracking, Tammy Green tried to sum up who her best friend was.
"She always happy, outgoing, always had a smile on her face, no matter when or where the situation was," said Green.
"She was a good person, anybody who knows her knows that, so please just give her family some closure."
Green heard the news over the weekend, and struggled to make sense of it.
"We were shocked, I couldn't believe it. She didn't deserve to die like that, nobody does," said Green, crying as her friends consoled her.
"She was the kinda person to take her shirt off her back to give to somebody else, she would be there for you, no matter what," said Melissa Sanderson, a cousin of Norma.
But, according to Garson — who spent a lot of time with Andrews over the last year — the mother of two also had "demons." She declined to elaborate.
The two friends worked in unison to combat their problems.
"We struggled together ... emotionally, physically, trying to get by in this life, where we're going next in this life, and being there for each other.
"I know she'd be there for me if it was me."