‘Her pictures, her memory’: Upcoming vigil marks 3rd anniversary of Victoria teen’s death

'Her pictures, her memory': Upcoming vigil marks 3rd anniversary of Victoria teen's death
A vigil for Victoria teen Samantha Sims-Somerville, who died in April 2021, is happening Wednesday, April 10, outside the B.C. legislature.

A Victoria mother whose teen daughter died from a toxic combination of alcohol and date rape drugs is hosting a vigil on Wednesday in the city’s downtown.

“This is all about Samantha,” said Tracy Sims.

She says the event, which will take place at 7 p.m. outside the B.C. legislature, is for her daughter Samantha Sims-Somerville, who died three years ago this month.

“This is simply a beautiful, pure vigil for my daughter, her life, her pictures, her memory. People are going to tell stories about her,” Sims told CHEK News.

The mom believes that two people fatally spiked her daughter’s drink with date rape drugs GHB and Rohypnol at a house party in April 2021. The mix was fatal for Sims-Somerville, who was rushed to hospital and put on life support.

Sims has been pushing for charges to be laid ever since Victoria Police did not, but speaking with CHEK News in March, she said B.C.’s prosecution service told her the evidence she presented wouldn’t lead to a strong likelihood of conviction.

At the time, she called the decision disappointing and premature.

“I’m just surprised that they did it so soon and did not at least give it some time, considering the evidence that’s there, which isn’t black and white,” she said.

The BC Coroner Service recently reopened its investigation into Sims-Somerville’s death, and the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) is investigating the actions of the three VicPD officers on the case.

“Considering that the OPCC have taken my complaint seriously and they are investigating, and the coroner has reopened the investigation, which they do not do lightly, the fact that they came to this decision so quickly, even though I knew that this would be their decision, is quite shocking,” Sims said last month.

READ PREVIOUS: Victoria mother disappointed no charges laid in daughter’s death

Leading up to the vigil, she says she’s “made it very clear that there will be no mention of the justice system or police hate talk,” adding, “This is peaceful, non-protest, no demonstration. I’ve asked alcohol-free.”

The poster for the vigil is purple, which was Sims-Somerville’s favourite colour, according to her mom. It also features yellow roses.

“All Samantha’s friends come together, my family,” said Sims. “People are going to be wearing a beautiful T-shirt, yellow. A bright yellow rose is her memorial rose, and purple was her favourite colour, so those are the colours that we chose.”

She’s encouraging people to join in on the vigil even if they didn’t personally know Sims-Somerville.

“It’s going to be, hopefully, a peaceful, beautiful vigil. Everybody’s welcome to come out, absolutely,” added Sims.

“The reason I’m having (the vigil) is because I feel in this fight that I’ve put up for three years, I don’t want my daughter, her name and her face and her life being lost in all of this.”

Photo supplied by: Tracy Sims

-With files from CHEK’s Kori Sidaway

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