With tears in their eyes and flowers in their hands, more than a hundred people gathered Saturday night outside the Anoka Street home where a mother and daughter were stabbed to death nearly a week ago.
Dark music filled the street in suburban Ottawa as people stood in silence remembering Anne-Marie Ready, 50, and Jasmine Ready, 15.
“They were such gentle souls,” said Tyler Glenn, who trained with them at Douvris Martial Arts Studio, where they had just received their black belts a fortnight ago after years of training. .
Glenn said he was “in complete denial and complete shock” after hearing about the couple’s death at the hands of Joshua Graves, 21, the son of the family’s neighbor.
According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the Ontario police watchdog, Ottawa police received a 911 call around 10:30 p.m. on June 27.
Officers arrived at the scene and found Graves stabbing Anne-Marie Ready’s 19-year-old daughter, Catherine, on the road near the house.
When he allegedly refused to drop his knife, the police shot and killed him, also beating Catherine. She is the only one to have survived the knife attack.
Graves’ own family members said he suffered from mental illness and had a “romantic” interest in one of the victims. Just three days before going on the stabbing rampage, Graves had been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting and stalking a 16-year-old girl.
He was later released.
As people came to mourn their loss, many still had unanswered questions.
“I’m curious how a 21-year-old, who a week earlier had been charged with sexual assault, was allowed to run free with a knife,” neighbor Scott Babbitt said.
Babbitt witnessed the incident and said he was “deeply disturbed” and had “vivid” memories of it. On the night of the murders, Babbitt said Graves was left unattended near several other girls who live on Anoka Street.
The tragedy took place on the same day that a high-profile coroner’s inquest into the murders of three women in Renfrew County issued 86 recommendations aimed at eradicating violence against women.
Lawyer Pamela Cross, who was part of an expert panel during the investigation, said the coincidence was stunning and called the murders last week – just like the murders of Nathalie Warmerdam, Anastasia Kuzyk and Carol Culleton in 2015 – clear acts of “femicide”.
It’s important to distinguish “feminicide” from “homicide,” Cross said, because the former is an act of killing girls and women because of their gender. One of the recommendations made by jury members during the inquest was to include femicide in the Criminal Code of Canada.
“It’s deeply disturbing, in so many ways…that someone so young is already so shaped by the misogynistic values that frame a culture we all live in,” she said.
“Girls don’t feel safe”
Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims, an Alta Vista community member and women’s advocate, said she organized Saturday’s vigil not only to allow people to mourn and cry, but also to raise awareness about violence against women. women and mental health issues.
“Whenever women are lost to violence [like] this is a reminder that we still have a lot of work to do, to prevent the circumstances that lead to violence against women and to really try to get to the root causes,” she said.
Farhoumand-Sims said she wonders about everything that could have been done to prevent the attack on Anne-Marie, Catherine and Jasmine Ready.
The Douvris martial arts studio is accepting donations to help Catherine Ready as she remains in hospital, six days after the attack.
The SIU, which investigates — among other things — deaths and serious injuries involving police officers, said Tuesday she was in serious but stable condition.
Jana Marcoux, a friend of Catherine who was at the wake, said the two had taken classes together at the University of Ottawa. She described her friend as “bright”, “full of life” and “always in a good mood”.
Marcoux said she hoped and prayed for her friend’s recovery, adding that realizing the Readys were being targeted because of their gender scared her for herself and other women.
“It’s scary to know that I have a friend in the hospital right now, without a mother or a sister,” she said. “Girls don’t feel safe.”