‘You rekin­dle a sense of con­fi­dence in hu­man­ity’

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY RICHARD MA­HONEY News Staff

Ém­i­lie Ma­heu will never be for­got­ten if peo­ple em­u­late her and try to bring joy to oth­ers.

That was one of the many emo­tional mes­sages shared at last Wed­nes­day’s can­dle­light vigil in mem­ory of the 26-year-old Green Val­ley woman whose body was found in a field near Lan­caster Oc­to­ber 13.

Although Ms. Ma­heu had be­gun work­ing at the Cen­tre chi­ro­pra­tique Alexan­dria Chi­ro­prac­tic Cen­tre in July, she had al­ready made an im­pres­sion on staff.

“She was a per­son who re­ally cared, not only for her daugh­ter, but for oth­ers,” mas­sage ther­a­pist Richard Ques­nel told the ap­prox­i­mately 200 peo­ple as­sem­bled at The Grotto in Alexan­dria. “She’s real,” he said, chok­ing back tears. “She bright­ened your day just by her smile.”

Mr. Ques­nel urged res­i­dents to per­pet­u­ate her mem­ory by per­form­ing ges­tures to brighten the lives of oth­ers.

The Ma­heu fam­ily mem­bers have been “over­whelmed” by the com­mu­nity re­sponse, said Dr. Suzanne Fil­ion, who or­ga­nized the vigil along with Natalie St-De­nis.

“My girl would be so happy to see ev­ery­thing that is be­ing done for her. She was such a good per­son. Ém­i­lie was so close to her beau­ti­ful daugh­ter Él­iz­a­beth. Thank you so much to the com­mu­nity for sup­port­ing us like this,” her fa­ther, Claude Ma­heu, said in a writ­ten state­ment.

Bran­don Smeltzer, Ms. Ma­heu’s for­mer parter, who is also the fa­ther of their 22-mon­thold daugh­ter, has been charged with first-de­gree mur­der. When the Bay­side, Nova Sco­tia man ap­peared in Corn­wall court Oc­to­ber 19, he de­clared, “I did the crime; I will do the time.”

Dr. Fil­ion de­scribed Ms. Ma­heu as a “young woman who was al­ways smil­ing, help­ing, and want­ing to learn and grow.”

“A warm heart,” called out a per­son from the crowd.

The mur­der has rocked the area, which has rarely ex­pe­ri­enced such a vi­o­lent crime.

The psy­chol­o­gist ob­served: “We could clearly feel the shock in the com­mu­nity in the past week. It’s vis­ceral. Unit­ing tonight is a con­crete ges­ture that helps us all to slowly di­gest the re­al­ity of this sit­u­a­tion. Em­pa­thy and com­pas­sion are over­flow­ing for the fam­ily, friends and col- leagues. They are not alone!”

She added the event “was also an op­por­tu­nity to sup­port her fam­ily, friends and work col­leagues, and to unite a com­mu­nity that is shaken but strong, who still strives to un­der­stand the sad re­al­ity of such a tragedy.”

Natalie St-De­nis de­clared that due to a “sense­less act of vi­o­lence, Ém­i­lie’s mother is with­out a daugh­ter, and Ém­i­lie’s own daugh­ter is with­out a mother.”

Ms. Ma­heu’s for­mer boss, Dr. Ray­nald Car­di­nal, said: “This tragedy of Ém­i­lie, to her daugh­ter, fam­ily, babysit­ter, friends, and to all of us who had the chance to be with Ém­i­lie, to our com­mu­nity here and across our coun­try, we have been shaken deeply. Your ges­tures of love and sol­i­dar­ity over the past days, this evening at this vigil and into the days, weeks, months that fol­low res­onate through­out and help all us rekin­dle a sense of con­fi­dence in hu­man­ity.”

Dr. Fil­ion stressed that the crime un­der­scored the need for more ser­vices to bet­ter deal with do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Women still have dif­fi­culty get­ting out of dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions, she said, be­cause as­sis­tance is not cen­tral­ized.

“We need to talk about it. We need to do some­thing about it and talk about and see how we can make it so that our so­ci­ety is safer.”

Ms. Ma­heu’s cousin, Bri­anna Théorêt, re­cited a fu­neral poem: “If tears could build a stair­way and mem­o­ries were a lane, we would walk right up to heaven and bring you back again...”

The vigil ended with Amaz­ing Grace, played by Rachel and Gabrielle Camp­bell.

Over 25 busi­nesses and about ten com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions contributed to the vigil. More cov­er­age in­side.

RICHARD MA­HONEY PHOTO

RIP ÉM­I­LIE: About 200 peo­ple at­tended a can­dle­light vigil in mem­ory of mur­der vic­tim Ém­i­lie Ma­heu Wed­nes­day at The Grotto in Alexan­dria.

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