With tears in their eyes and flowers in their hands, more than a hundred people gathered Saturday night outside the home on Anoka Street where a mother and her daughter were stabbed to death nearly a week ago.
Somber music filled the Ottawa suburban street as people stood in silence and remembered 50-year-old Anne-Marie Ready and 15-year-old Jasmine Ready.
“They were such gentle souls,” said Tyler Glenn, who trained with them at the Douvris Martial Arts Studio, where just a fortnight ago they had earned their black belts after years of training.
Glenn said he was in “utter denial and utter shock” after hearing of the couple’s deaths at the hands of 21-year-old Joshua Graves, the son of the family’s neighbor.
Ottawa police received a 911 call around 10:30 p.m. on June 27, according to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ontario’s police watchdog.
Officers arrived at the scene to find Graves stabbed Anne-Marie Ready’s 19-year-old daughter, Catherine, in the street near the home.
When he allegedly refused to drop his knife, police shot him dead – and also hit Catherine. She was the only one who survived the knife attack.
Graves’ own family members said he suffered from a mental illness and had a “romantic” interest in one of the victims. Just three days before the stabbing rampage, Graves was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting and stalking a 16-year-old girl.
He was then released from prison.
While people came to mourn their loss, many still had unanswered questions.
“I’m curious how a 21-year-old who was charged with sexual assault a week earlier walked loose 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 living on Anoka Street.
The tragedy happened on the same day that a top-level coroner’s investigation into the murders of three women in Renfrew County released 86 recommendations to eliminate violence against women.
Attorney Pamela Cross, who was part of a panel of experts on the inquiry, said the coincidence was staggering, calling last week’s killings – like the 2015 killings of Nathalie Warmerdam, Anastasia Kuzyk and Carol Culleton – clear acts of “femicide.” “.
It’s important to distinguish “femicide” from “murder,” Cross said, since the former is an act of killing girls and women because of their gender. One of the jury members’ recommendations at the inquest was the inclusion of femicide in Canada’s Penal Code.
“It’s deeply troubling in many ways … that someone so young is already so imbued with the misogynistic values that frame a culture in which we all live,” 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 mourn, but also to raise awareness about violence against women and mental health issues to sharpen.
“Every time women are victims of violence [like] This is a reminder that we still have so much 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 wondered what 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 who remains hospitalized six days after the attack.
The SIU, which is investigating deaths and serious injuries with police involvement, among other things, said Tuesday it was in serious but stable condition.
Jana Marcoux, a friend of Catherine’s who was at the vigil, said the two took classes together at the University of Ottawa. She described her friend as “bright”, “fun” and “always in a good mood”.
Marcoux said she hopes and prays for her friend’s recovery, adding that realizing the Readys have been targeted because of their gender scares her for herself and other women.
“It’s scary to know that I have a friend in the hospital right now with no mother or sister,” she said. “Girls don’t feel safe.”