'She was loved': Relatives gather in Tulita, N.W.T., for Breanna Menacho and for justice

Breanna Menacho was an auntie, a sister, a daughter, and a granddaughter — and she was so loved, says her family.

‘Bre was so special,’ says auntie who organized gathering for her niece

Breanna Menacho loved others and was loved in return, said her auntie. The 22-year-old was reported missing in Yellowknife earlier this month and was found dead on May 6, said RCMP. (Breanna Menacho/Facebook)

Breanna Menacho was an auntie, a sister, a daughter and a granddaughter — and she was so loved, says her family, who called her Bre.

"Bre loved her parents," said Rena Chapple, Menacho's auntie, who co-ordinated a gathering of relatives in Tulita, N.W.T., on Tuesday to show support for the family as they grieve and pursue justice.

"We are standing together as one. As a family, we'll stick together and get through this."

The 22-year-old Menacho was reported missing earlier this month in Yellowknife, after she was last seen May 5. Police found her body on May 6 in a Yellowknife apartment, and a 27-year-old man was charged with her murder.

On Thursday, RCMP said they had charged two more people in relation to her death. A 24-year-old from Fort Liard and a 21-year-old from Yellowknife are now charged with murder, accessory after the fact.

Menacho was a lovable person and a conversationalist, said her auntie.

"I hear my nieces talking about her and how she put a smile on everyone's face," said Chapple. "Bre makes us laugh."

Chapple recalled a memory of calling Menacho to tell her she was coming into Yellowknife for a visit. She said Menacho showed up right away to meet her.

Something so tragic like this, it will take a while to heal.- Rena Chapple, Breanna Menacho's auntie

Chapple remembers Menacho dancing as a kid at her grandparents' house, and how she loved to visit with family.

"Bre always had these two little ponytails. Bre would be sitting there and my dad would put on the music, just fiddle or jigging music, and say, 'Bre dance!' And Bre would get up and dance — her little ponytails would just be going."

Those memories are something to cherish, she said. 

"A lot of her family and her friends and people who had a connection with her, they'll always remember her happiness and that smile. That's a thing we never let go of."

An old photo of Menacho with some of her family members. From left to right, Cathie Menacho, Chanise Menacho, Rena Chapple, Breanna Menacho and Lucyann Antoine. (Submitted by Rena Chapple)

Those good memories will keep the family going with the challenge that lies ahead, Chapple said. She said they'll keep showing their support for the family as the trial of the man charged with her murder proceeds. 

"We are here for her. We are here for them and to let them know justice will be done," said Chapple. "She was loved. Something so tragic like this, it will take a while to heal."

COVID-19 hinders family from travelling to Yellowknife

Chapple said she wanted to organize a gathering to support Menacho's parents and entire family. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they're unable to travel to Yellowknife because there are no scheduled flights.

Instead, people gathered in household groups, dressed in red, near Menacho's grandmother's house. The mother of Mariella Lennie, who disappeared in 1991, was also in attendance.

Relatives gathered in Tulita, N.W.T., on May 12 to support Menacho's family. (Submitted by Rena Chapple)

"Family is important, [so we] … let them know we're behind them and we'll always be in support, for justice," said Chapple.

Chapple's brother is Menacho's father, who lives outside Tulita. She showed him the photos of the gathering.

"He was very happy we did that," she said. 

LISTEN | Family talks about how Breanna Menacho was 'such a lovable person'

The family of Breanna Menacho are remembering how much the 22-year old was loved. She died last week. 25 of Breanna's relatives in Tulita gathered outside her grandmother's house on Tuesday. Auntie -- and gathering organizer -- Rena Chapple told CBC that they wanted to show their love and support for her family. 10:16

"Thank you. Mahsi for all the prayers and kind words and everything that people have been doing to support the family, and especially the parents," she said.

Menacho's father has received lots of calls and text messages, said Chapple, who said they are thankful for all the messages of love they have received, and for the support from Tulita.

"It is something that touches everybody's heart when you lose someone you love. There's going to be a trial and we'll be here," she said. 

Chapple says she is sending positive energy to Menacho's parents, and that with family, they'll get through it.

"Bre had such a big heart — for people, her grandmother, her aunties and her cousins. She meant so much to us and when it happened it was really devastating. She was such a good person."