They came from across Edmonton to pay their final respects on Monday to a woman whose death police still can't explain. Cyndi Duong, a 37-year-old mother of three, was at her home on Dec. 29 when she became the final victim of the worst mass killing in Alberta's history.
More than 700 people packed a church in the city's west end to take a "final walk" with Ms. Duong, according to Pastor Thanh Trung Le. Seated in the pews were members of her oldest son's hockey team, each wearing one of the jerseys that Ms. Duong once took care of as an involved parent in the junior league.
"Whether they were co-workers, friends or people who knew her through hockey, everyone loved her and came to take a last walk with her," said Pastor Thanh. "She had a life that was worthy to live."
Neighbours around Ms. Duong's home in south Edmonton remember a bubbly and personable presence on the street. They say she made friends easily and was always ready to help.
Kevin Gartly knew Ms. Duong through their church, but has been a close family friend for more than a decade. The two volunteered together in the community and often bumped into each other at hockey practices. He's now helping her husband, David Luu, through the mourning.
"He was in shock and mourning most of the week. God has started to help him get going. I can see how God has lifted his spirits and given him strength," said Mr. Gartly.
As he said goodbye to a woman he watched grow up through his church, Pastor Thanh said he focused on a message of hope and faith for the congregation. "It's very tough, but we need to trust God and communicate a message of hope and strength. She touched each one of us there," he said.
A day before 53-year-old Phu Lam entered Ms. Duong's home and shot her, the gunman killed his estranged spouse and five members of her family at her home in north Edmonton – among them were two children, including his eight-year-old son. A family friend was also killed.
Mr. Phu killed himself 36 hours later after a standoff with police.
Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht said last week the north Edmonton murders were "planned and deliberate." He added they were an "extreme case of domestic violence gone awry."
While Edmonton police stress that Ms. Duong was not Mr. Phu's intended target, they say they will be releasing no further information on the case. Despite a number of unanswered questions a clear motive for the seven deaths at the north Edmonton home has yet to be established, and police have yet to explain Ms. Duong's killing.
"While the public might be interested in those questions, it will have no impact on the police investigation," said Scott Pattison, spokesman for the Edmonton police.
Over the course of the week following the mass murders that killed eight, Edmonton police only spoke with the public twice. Mr. Pattison said remaining questions could best be answered by surviving family members.
Also on Monday morning, students in Grade 3B at Bishop Greschuk Catholic Elementary School wrote cards for former classmate Elvis Lam, the eight-year-old boy slain by his father.
A prayer table and therapy dog were at the school for Elvis's classmates. Calling the killing "devastating," the superintendent of Edmonton's Catholic schools said she had read the boy's class journal.
"What I gleaned is a very bright young boy, very passionate about math and science. He totally loved his baby sister; there are many stories about her in the journal," said Joan Carr. Elvis's sister was spared along with another child by Mr. Phu, who left both of them with a relative after the first seven murders.
A funeral will be held on Tuesday for six victims, including Elvis and his mother's family.