Woman found dead in vehicle in Saskatoon identified as Hailey Belanger-Weeseekase
Police say 19-year-old's death was a homicide
Tamara Weeseekase spent Monday at a Saskatoon mall shopping for an outfit for her little sister Hailey — not for a birthday present or an event, but to dress Hailey's body for her funeral.
Saskatoon police officers found 19-year-old Hailey Belanger-Weeseekase dead in a vehicle on the 3700 block of Diefenbaker Drive at about 3:30 p.m. CST on Saturday. Police say her death was a homicide.
"We have no idea whose car it was, she doesn't drive," Tamara said.
"We don't know who phoned [police] either."
Tamara, who is three years older than Hailey, said police gave her family limited information because of the ongoing criminal investigation.
The Saskatoon Police Service initially said Hailey's death was suspicious and confirmed Monday they believe she was killed.
The police major crimes unit and forensic identification sections are investigating her death, with assistance from the Saskatchewan Coroners Service.
Tamara said her sister was an outgoing person who loved making friends and socializing. She said she was interested in "nerdy" things like anime and video games and that they shared in interest in costume makeup.
"I learned from watching YouTube videos and that's how she learned so we gave each other tips," she said.
Hailey was also known as "DeeDee" because that's how she said "baby" when she was a child.
Tamara said she has seen comments online from people making assumptions about how Hailey died. Her sister had friends in gangs but Tamara said nobody knows what happened yet — not even her own family.
"The gang life wasn't all she was, she wanted to move on, she wished she could have done better with her life," said Tamara.
"It's just that was the easiest thing and that's what she knew. She grew up knowing that just being in Saskatoon, that was the easiest thing to fall into, but that's not who she was."
She said her sister had sought help for mental health and addictions multiple times in the past, including spending time at the Calder Centre addictions treatment centre.
She said her sister was always able to check herself out.
"As soon as she wasn't comfortable with it or she wanted to come back home she could come back home, and then it was easy for her to talk to her friends again and then go hang out with them somewhere in West side and then get back into drinking," said Tamara.
Tamara wants the public to know her sister was a "good kid" who wanted to make changes in her life but that her situation made it difficult to do so.
Back at the mall, deciding on an outfit to buy for Hailey's funeral, Tamara remembered her sister's fluctuating fashion choices.
"One minute you'd catch her in an Adidas tracksuit with sweatpants and a baggy shirt and then the next thing you'd see her in a floral dress and a cardigan and her hair is done up," she said.
Hailey's mom, Freda Weeseekase, thanked friends and family for their support in a post on social media.
"These are the hardest days of our lives but we will continue to be strong," she said.
"Your love and supporting words and prayers helps us to do that. So thank you from me and my daughters."
Police are asking anyone with information about Hailey's death to call 306-975-8300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.