Alloura Wells was a 'talented singer' with a 'good heart,' her father says at memorial
Published Tuesday, December 12, 2017 3:11PM EST Last Updated Tuesday, December 12, 2017 6:52PM EST
The father of a missing transgender woman whose body was found in a Rosedale ravine over the summer says he hopes his daughter will be remembered for her “good heart” and “beautiful smile.”
Mike Wells made the comments outside Sanctuary Toronto on Tuesday, where a memorial service was being held for his daughter, Alloura Wells.
Twenty-seven-year-old Wells was last seen in downtown Toronto sometime in July.
Her body was found lying next to a tent in a ravine near Rosedale Valley Road on Aug. 5.
Toronto police said months of forensic identification work was required to positively identify the body as it was badly decomposed when it was found. At this point, police say they have no reason to suspect foul play.
Prior to the memorial service, Wells’ father spent reminisced about his daughter and the memories they shared as a family.
“She was a very good singer. She could hit any note,” he told CP24. “She really had talent... that was the thing. She could’ve gone somewhere with that. For her grandmother’s funeral, she sang ‘Amazing Grace,’ played it off a CD. Everyone thought it was a professional singer, but it was Alloura.”
Wells said that as a kid, Alloura particularly loved spending time with her family during the holidays.
“She was always laughing as a kid. She especially enjoyed holidays because we made everything really gaudy,” he said. “I bought a pumpkin on Halloween this one time and it was so big we had to get three people to carry it. Alloura and her younger brother, they could both sit inside it, that’s how big it was... They loved it.”
Wells’ father, who reported her missing on Nov. 6., has in the past been critical of the way police handled the case. He claimed that officers brushed off her disappearance and suggested it wasn’t unusual because she was homeless.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders addressed the criticism earlier this week at a news conference where he simultaneously tried to quash anxieties about recent deaths and disappearances in the city’s Church and Wellesley neighbourhood.
Saunders acknowledged that “an element of sensitivity” is necessary when dealing with missing persons cases and later apologized to Wells’ father.
He also announced that officers with the professional standards unit would be looking into Alloura’s case as part of a broader review into how Toronto police handle missing persons reports.
Wells went on to acknowledge and praise the Church and Wellesley community, who he says has “embraced” him since Alloura’s death.
“It’s just sad they have to come together in these types of instances,” he said. “This community is a loving, compassionate community. There’s a lot to be learned from them. Some people get stupid ideas in their head about the community but they’re just people… they’re just people and somebody loves them. They shouldn’t be ostracized because of orientation.”
Police are still looking to speak with Alloura’s boyfriend, who they believe to be the last person to see her alive.
Augustinus Balesdent is not considered to be a suspect but a “person of interest.” He described as being in his 20s or early 30s.