Slain Ontario woman had 'love of life,' says family
Family and friends of Jessica Lloyd shed tears Saturday afternoon as they remembered a young woman who approached life with "zest" while remaining a country girl at heart.
But outside the funeral home, members of the community said they are still reeling from the 27-year-old's murder and the shocking allegations against a senior officer of the Canadian Forces who has been charged in connection with her death.
"It's such a small community and it has been such a shock. You don't expect it to happen in such a small place," said Karen Kehler, sobbing in an interview with The Canadian Press. "You just want to be able to do something for the family."
As dozens of cars snaked around the street leading to the funeral home, mourners could see signs posted outside several local shops in Belleville. "We love you Jessica," they read.
Other members of the community stood on the street, held candles and wiped away tears.
Hundreds of people packed the John R. Bush Funeral Home in Belleville to say goodbye to the woman and offer words of support to her grieving family. Many had to listen to the eulogies outside over loudspeakers for a lack of space inside the room.
"Those green eyes could catch the attention of anyone from across the room," said her cousin, Sarah Lloyd, who along with her brother, John, gave the eulogy.
She said her cousin had a "profound zest and love for life" and shared memories of Lloyd lovingly teasing her brother Andy with whom she shared a close relationship.
John Lloyd said his cousin loved hockey and often joked she would name her future child after former Toronto Maple Leaf Tie Domi.
She also had a love for all music, from Jay-Z to George Strait.
"You can't cover Jess with one song," he said with a soft laugh.
Lloyd's cousins spoke in front of a backdrop of countless flowers, photographs and collages showing the pretty brunette with family and friends.
The young woman was born in Ottawa but moved to Belleville with her family when she was eight years old. Though she embraced living in the small city, she found much happiness whenever she was in the countryside.
"She loved the beauty of an overnight frost in the countryside," Rev. Cathy Paul said during the hour-long service.
"It was a comforting service, a celebration of her life, and affirming," Rev. Audrey Whitney said after the service, as scores of people somberly filed out of the chapel as bag pipes played in the background.
Several uniformed members of the military also attended the service, forming a tight circle around the family until they were back in their limousine.
Lloyd's murder has caught the attention of Canadians across the country after a police probe into the case led to several criminal charges being laid against a commander at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.
Investigators charged Col. Russell Williams with first-degree murder in connection with Lloyd's death as well as the death of a second woman, air force steward Cpl. Marie-France Comeau.
Lloyd's body was found Feb. 8 in the community of Tweed, about two weeks after she was reported missing by her family.
Comeau's body was found near her Belleville home last November.
Williams has also been charged in connection with two sex assaults in the area.
The 46-year-old suspect will next appear in court on Feb. 18 via video link.
The charges shocked the tight-knit military community, where Williams was highly regarded as a professional, well-spoken and hardworking member of the Canadian Forces.
He was considered a top pilot in the country who had the honour of meeting the Queen, greeting the Olympic torch and escorting Canada's prime minister and other elite political figures.
Police have said that they don't expect to release the causes of death of either Comeau or Lloyd.
With files from The Canadian Press