Body found on rural road identified as young Fredericton mother
'She was an awesome person,' friend Chrissy Denny says of homicide victim
The death of 31-year-old Candace Rose Winona Stevens — whose body was found Saturday on a rural road in Upper Derby — is being treated as a homicide, say Fredericton police.
The remains of the young Indigenous woman were found Oct. 27 on a rural road about 32 kilometres southwest of Miramichi by people travelling through the area.
Stevens, known to many of her friends by the the nickname "Cree," was the single mother of a young daughter. She was working at a Fredericton spa after graduating from an esthetics program at the Majestany Institute.
Jonnie Sacobie met Stevens while the two were studying together. Sacobie said she knew Stevens had struggled at times with being adopted and growing up removed from her First Nations roots.
She said she was shocked by the news of her death, recalling her friend's sense of humour and love for her daughter.
"I just remember laughing," she said. "We always had just good times, even if she was in a bad mood.
"Once you met her and got to know her, you realized that she's … a good person to be around and have in your corner."
Chrissy Denny, a friend of Stevens's since the two women were teenagers, said Stevens was a key part of her success in the nail competition in which the two women participated as part of their beauty school program.
Stevens agreed to be Denny's model at the Carnival of Beauty in Halifax and encouraged her friend each step of the way.
"She kept telling me I could do it," Denny said. "She always kept pushing me."
"She was very fun. She didn't let anybody run her life. It was her way. She was hilarious. She was just a free spirit, and there was nothing that anybody could tell her.
"She loved the people that loved her back, and she respected the people that respected her back and she left an imprint on this world, on every single person that she ever met — good or bad. Nobody will ever forget her."
Stevens worked at Sorella Spa in Fredericton as an esthetician.
"Candace Stevens was a very kind soul, a wonderful colleague, and friend," the business posted on Facebook on Tuesday.
"We will truly miss her. This young lady was attempting to persevere in a very cruel world. We only hope she has found peace."
Fredericton police are leading the investigation with the assistance of the New Brunswick RCMP.
On Wednesday afternoon, RCMP forensic identification services remained on the scene, surveying the area from the air with the use of a drone.
"We do not believe there is any risk to the public," police said in a release. "Further updates will be provided as they become available."
Stevens's funeral will take place at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church on Friday, Nov. 2, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Fredericton police at 506-460-2300 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or www.crimenb.ca.