Nova Scotia

Friends of a slain Cape Breton woman say they were shocked to learn of her death

People close to 33-year-old Sarabeth Anne Forbes describe her as a happy person who never complained of problems in her relationship. Her common-law partner, Richard Wayne MacNeil, has been charged with her murder.

Sarabeth Anne Forbes' partner was charged with 1st-degree murder after she was found dead in their home

Friends describe Sarabeth Forbes as full of life and always smiling. (Submitted by Tanya Hennick-McNeil)

Friends and co-workers of a slain Cape Breton woman say they are shocked and devastated by her death because there was no indication of trouble in her relationship.

Sarabeth Anne Forbes, 33, was found dead in her Gardiner Mines home on April 18. Her common-law partner, Richard Wayne MacNeil, 40, is charged with first-degree murder.

Richard MacNeil (second from left) is surrounded by sheriffs at Sydney's provincial court. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

Tanya Hennick-McNeil worked with Forbes when she was employed at a Sydney retirement home.

"She spoke of him [MacNeil] positively," she said. "And we are saddened that she couldn't come to somebody for help ... if she needed it."

Sarabeth was full of life, very pleasant, always a smile. She was just a happy person to be around."

At the time of her death, Forbes was working as a teacher's assistant at Tompkins Memorial Elementary School in nearby Reserve Mines.

Co-workers of homicide victim Sarabeth Anne Forbes are raising funds for her nine-year-old son. (Submitted by Tanya Hennick-McNeil)

Terri Spooney, also a friend of Forbes, said she and Hennick-McNeil have started a GoFundMe campaign for Forbes and MacNeil's nine-year-old son. 

"How does a nine-year-old deal with that?" Spooney said. "One day he has parents and the next day he has none." 

The campaign goal is $10,000 and has already raised $8,000, Spooney said.

Funeral held Tuesday

Spooney said Forbes's mother is now raising her son. 

"It's devastating. She lost her daughter... it's bad enough, heart-breaking for us but tomorrow it's going to be dreadful for her mother."

MacNeil was remanded to the Cape Breton Correctional Facility and made a brief court appearance on Wednesday. He is still obtaining a lawyer so the case has been set over until Friday.

Forbes's funeral was held Tuesday. 

With files from Gary Mansfield