Alloura Wells remembered by friends, family, LGBT mourners as a 'great soul'
Wells, 27, vanished last summer; her body was later found in a ravine
Family and friends of Alloura Wells, a homeless transgender woman who disappeared from the city's downtown area last summer, held a memorial for her Tuesday where she was remembered as a "great soul."
The service was held at Rosar-Morrison Funeral Home on Sherbourne Street near Wellesley Street East.
Wells, 27, vanished in July last year when her Facebook account went dormant. A month later, residents discovered the body of a transgender woman lying on the ground near a tent in Rosedale Ravine Lands Park, an area Wells's friends say she frequented.
But the remains weren't identified until December because Wells, also known as Alloura Hennessy and Alloura Wheeler, wasn't reported missing to police until Nov. 6. Her death was not classified as suspicious.
"It's very unfortunate. This has been lingering for a long time and our community is really upset with the way things were handled," said Xica Rodriguez, one of the mourners.
She said Wells was "a vibrant member" of the LGBT community, and appealed to people not to hurt others because they are different.
"She was really loved by our community and she is really missed right now," Rodriquez said.
Toronto police have come in for harsh criticism from family members and LGBT advocates for their slow response to Wells's disappearance.
LGBT advocate Nicki Ward, who had accused the police of overlooking Wells's case, was among the mourners.
She described police actions as "deplorable and inhumane," adding that they "handled all of these cases with lack of care" and noted there are still unanswered questions about Wells' disappearance.
"Alloura continues to be remembered by the community. Our community is an extended family and so our grieving continues as does that of the family," Ward said.
"The grieving is part of a continuing process for us as a community,"
Monica Forrester, another LGBT advocate, talked about the things people remember most about Wells.
"I remember her sense of style, her laugh. She was a great singer. She was very approachable. She was just a great soul that died too young," Forrester said.
"She had a lot ambition, things that she wanted to do in the future and it's sad that she left so early,"
The City of Toronto covered the funeral home and cremation expenses, while advocacy groups and friends raised funds to assist with the memorial, urn, flowers, reception and financial support for Wells's family.
"I don't think anyone would want to be in that situation," Forrester said about Wells's last moments on earth.
"But we have to look forward, look past that and hope that she is in a better place."