Family says goodbye to Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Toronto woman who fell from balcony

Family and friends have said goodbye to a Toronto woman who fell to her death from a balcony while police were in her home.

'We're continuing the legacy of Regis and her strength,' pastor says

Family members held a private viewing and funeral on Thursday afternoon in remembrance of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old woman who fell to her death from the balcony of a Toronto apartment last month. The provincial police watchdog is investigating what role, if any, Toronto police officers played in her death. (Regis Paquet/Facebook)

One by one, a procession of Regis Korchinski-Paquet's family members leaned in to a white casket and kissed her goodbye.

They cried softly at a small funeral for the 29-year-old Toronto woman who died after falling from her apartment's balcony on May 27 while police officers were in her home.

Roy Dawson, a pastor with the Peace Community Church of Jesus Christ, remembered Korchinski-Paquet as a caring woman who believed in God.

"The strength she displayed and courage that she had to go through any difficulties with a smile is something that we will hold onto," he said at the service that was streamed online.

SIU investigating 

Korchinski-Paquet died after police responded to 911 calls from the home about a possible assault.

Her mother has said she wanted police to take her daughter to a mental health facility in Toronto.

Since her death, questions have swirled around exactly what happened once Korchinski-Paquet was alone inside her family's apartment with police. 

Through their lawyer, the family has raised concerns that race may have played a role in her death. 

The province's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, is probing the case.

A vigil for Korchinski-Paquet was held outside her apartment in Toronto's High Park neighbourhood in the days following her death. (Mark Bochsler/CBC)

The family said Wednesday they will schedule an interview with the SIU as soon as possible.

They had postponed interviews last week after their lawyer cited concerns about possible leaks from police sources regarding the case.

The family did not speak at the funeral on Thursday, but said in Korchinski-Paquet's obituary that she was an avid gymnast as a child and loved dancing, music and singing.

She started every day by texting her siblings "Good Morning, I love you!" the family said.

"Her beautiful, infectious smile and unique laugh will be missed, and her absence felt in our hearts forever."

'We're continuing the legacy of Regis' 

Dawson also remembered Korchinski-Paquet's smile.

"I remember Regis, all the time she would come to the building, always smiling," he said.    

"She's so encouraging, no matter how I was feeling that day."

He said the two bonded over long discussions about God, as well as her own journey through life and her "spicy" attitude.

"I don't care how spicy she gets — and she got spicy with me sometimes — but she always ended up saying 'I'm OK,"' Dawson said.

He said the best way to keep Korchinski-Paquet's memory alive is to remember her smile.

"Every time when you smile, you're just realizing we're continuing the legacy of Regis and her strength, her kindness and her love," Dawson said.

"Keep on smiling. Hug somebody."

With files from CBC News