The mother of a Duncan teen murdered six years ago offers support to Makayla Chang’s family. Skye Ryan reports.
The tragic end to the search for Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang is bringing back memories of a strikingly similar homicide in Duncan six years ago.
Now Tyeshia Jones’ mother wants to offer Makayla’s family hope that they aren’t alone and there is life after this unimaginable grief.
Walking through a Duncan cemetery, Mary Jim can honestly say she knows how the grieving family of Makayla Chang is feeling.
“I’m sorry for the loss. I know how you feel,” Mary Jim said while standing over her daughter’s grave.
Jim was in their same shoes six years ago. Hoping her 18-year-old daughter Tyeshia Jones, who disappeared while walking home from a friend’s, would be found. Day after day of the search, she held out hope, then reeled from the news that her “baby girl” as she called her had been a victim of murder.
“This is not the way I want to take care of my child,” Jim said, clearing Tyeshia’s headstone. “No parent should have to go through this.”
Six years later the memories still bring tears to her eyes and wake her at night.
“Everyday. Waking up,” the Duncan woman said But she is also a symbol of strength in her community.
“She showed the strength that only a mother can show,” Cowichan Tribes member Joe Thorne said. “To go through what she’s gone through to live the way she’s living and to raise her children so beautifully.”
Jim has gone on to raise three happy, thriving children, Tyeshia’s little brothers and sister, in the wake of what many consider a tragedy they could never survive from.
“Just one day at a time. That’s all it takes. Wake up,” Jim said.
Her advice to Makayla’s grandmother is to feel it all, but most of all just worry about getting through each day.
“Don’t let anybody tell you how to feel. This is your grief,” Jim said.
Family friend Joe Thorne who helped Tyeshia’s family through their hardest days said Chang’s family will also have to stay away from listening to speculation that is bound to hurt them.
“You know don’t listen to false stories. Wait for the RCMP to tell you. They will tell you everything in due time. I know what they’re going through,” Thorne said.
While Tyeshia’s killer was caught and is now serving a 20-year sentence in prison, Makayla Chang’s family is still waiting to hear if an arrest has been made in her case.