Holding a photo of her daughter, Jaquie Swakum was joined by other family members in Port Alberni Saturday.
They had travelled from Merritt to see for themselves where 30 year old Nicola-Cree Belcourt died early morning on April 2.
“You know we have very minimal information right now and this is why we’re here. We’re seeking more information so if anyone knows anything please reach out to the Port Alberni RCMP,” said Fawn Adolph, the victim’s cousin.
Port Alberni RCMP say Belcourt was found unresponsive on Roger Street near Victoria Quay at 2:30 last Saturday morning.
Life-saving measures were attempted but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say a “vehicle of interest” left the scene prior to police arriving, but has since been seized by the RCMP.
“Nicola was very fun, she was very creative,” added Adolph. “She had a lot of energy, she loved her pets. She loved the outdoors and she loved seeing new things. Most of all she loved her mom and her siblings.”
Along with members of Belcourt’s family in attendance, some of those who first went to her aid including paramedics and members of the public were honoured in a powerful First Nations ceremony.
“Some of the first responders and the people who were first on the scene trying to help, thankfully they came too and they participated in the ceremony as well and we hope they feel a little lighter today too because that’s really heavy to see you know,” stated Tseshaht First Nation Chief Ken Watts.
Belcourt, a First Nation woman moved from Merritt to Port Alberni two years ago and family members hung a red dress near where she died.
Red dresses have become a symbol for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Children in Canada.
“You know with the help of the community and the First Nations and everyone here it’s very comforting to have the support in such tragic times,” said Adolph.
“We just hope there’s justice at the end of the day,” added Watts. “A young woman is no longer here and a mother should never have to come and say goodbye to their daughter.”
During the sombre ceremony Saturday the victim’s mother personally thanked those who tried to save her life.
Police say the investigation continues and the cause of death is still being determined.
Anyone with information or dash cam video of the area of Rogers Street and Victoria Quay between 1:30 and 2:45 a.m. Saturday, April 2 is asked to call Port Alberni RCMP at 250-723-2424.