'I do it for Marie': Ottawa homicide victim’s brother speaking out to share his sister’s story
David Gabriel says he never imagined having to plan his younger sister’s funeral.
Marie Gabriel, 24, was killed in her Heatherington Road home on March 28. Jean Fenelon, 40, is facing a charge of second-degree murder.
David remembers the moment the detective came to his mother’s house to break the news.
"My heart sank, the detective came to shake my hand, but I was refusing because I was saying, 'This can’t be true, this can’t be true, this is not real.'"
David is now in charge of making arrangements for Marie’s funeral.
"Words cannot explain how I am feeling. It is a lot of planning, it is almost, I am sitting at home, and people are messaging, and my heart is racing."
David and Marie were born in Gambia and moved to the United States and eventually Canada with their mother. David says he and his sister were close and they have fond memories of growing up. They both raised children here in Ottawa.
"All those I have in my head. They are good memories that will forever cherish."
Gabriel had two young children with the accused.
"The kids were her everything. She would video chat with people and would be showing off the kids all the time," David said.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for the cost of the funeral as well as support the two kids.
David Gabriel says his sister was trapped in an abusive relationship and was trying to escape. He said she was "isolated”, and her situation “made her feel completely lost.”
David adds, "She was afraid to tell her family.
Marie was planning on meeting her brother soon before she was killed, according to David.
"We were planning to meet, I told we can plan meet, and I am here today, and we can’t plan that," David said.
"A lot of questions in my mind, but she is not here to answer them."
CTV News Ottawa reached out to Fenelon’s lawyer, but he says he is unable to provide comment at this time.
David says talking about his sister is helping him cope and he is speaking out and sharing Marie’s story to help victims of domestic violence who are afraid to escape their situation.
"We need to put awareness out there that, people need to get out of these situations. Marie is not here to tell you what happen, so I am talking for her," David says.
"It’s overwhelming, but I do it for Marie."
A vigil is being planned in the Heatherington Road community Friday night. Those who knew Marie will light candles and share memories.