Grieving friends stood by a growing memorial to Duncan murder victims Nellie Williams and Fran Shurie Monday, just steps from where the couple was viciously attacked on Christmas Eve.
“They were friendly,” said friend Sylvia August, who also lives in Duncan.
“She was a loving, caring person. I just see them out in the community all the time.”
“She was a beautiful girl,” said friend Jackie MacDonald when talking about Williams.
“My heart’s crushed,” said Amanda Laroche.
“This was wrong.”
Laroche had known 29-year-old Williams from a young age and said this is not how anyone imagined that little girl would end up.
“She was a sweetheart, nobody had anything bad to say about her,” said Laroche.
“How can this happen to somebody so beautiful and so young?” said August.
Just before 11 p.m. on Dec. 24, North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP were called to a reported assault near Trunk Road and Canada Avenue. Officers found a man and a woman, both injured. The two were taken to a local hospital.
Shurie was pronounced dead and Williams died in hospital on Dec. 28.
Police said the incident is being investigated as a double homicide and early indications point to a targeted attack. Police said they are pursuing several leads, including two men of interest.
Friends are now reflecting on a couple they say were very much in love.
“They were in love for the longest time,” said MacDonald.
“They had each other’s backs, they were soul mates,” said Laroche.
“They belonged together.”
But friends also say it was no Hallmark love story. Thirty-seven-year-old Shurie and Williams both became addicted to drugs and lived together on the streets. Over the years, they had four children together but sadly, each baby was promptly taken away.
According to friends though, Williams was trying to make some changes.
“She was trying to turn her life around,” said Laroche.
“And she didn’t want to be the way she was.”
Adding to the tragedy, friends tell CHEK News, is Williams and Shurie were excited the Christmas Eve night they were attacked. They’d just learned they were allowed to have Christmas lunch with those children who had been placed into care. Instead, their kids will never see them again.
“She would give the shirt off her back,” said MacDonald of Williams.
“Just a beautiful girl.”
“It’s just not fair,” said Laroche.
“How many of our kids have to die before something happens. Thank God my kids aren’t doing it,” she said.
Funeral arrangements are now being made for Nellie Williams and Fran Shurie as RCMP appeal for anyone around Duncan’s downtown late that Christmas eve night to come forward.
Anyone with information can call the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit information line at 250-380-6211. Police said they are particularly interested in speaking with people who were in the area of Trunk Road and Duncan Street or Canada Avenue between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m. on the night of December 24, 2019, including those who may have dashcam footage or other video surveillance.