Angela Poorman's three children will meet for the first time at their mother's funeral, after Angie, as her family called her, became Winnipeg's latest homicide victim and another example of the fatal violence plaguing Canada's aboriginal women.
The 29-year-old was stabbed to death in the city's north end Sunday morning, just days before she was set to travel to Saskatoon to stay with her sister for the Christmas holidays.
"It's devastating at this time of year," said Candice Poorman, one of the victim's five siblings, who were raised separately by foster families and relatives. "I was just really starting to get to know her."
Police are appealing to the public for information on the death, which they are treating as a homicide. No charges had been laid as of Monday evening.
With her killing, Angela Poorman has joined native women such as Brandy Vittrekwa, the 17-year-old who was found dead in Whitehorse last week, and Tina Fontaine, the 15-year-old who was pulled from the Manitoba capital's Red River in August.
The killings – and the nearly fatal attack on Winnipeg's Rinelle Harper last month – are renewing calls for a national inquiry into the more than 1,180 native women who have been killed or gone missing in Canada between 1980 and 2012. Members of Ms. Poorman's family told The Globe and Mail they support a federal probe.
Aside from the fact that the holidays are nearing, Candice Poorman said the timing of her sister's killing is particularly tragic: The woman, she said, was seeking treatment for her addiction issues and was "trying to get her kids back."
Reflective of her own upbringing, Angela Poorman's three children were being raised in separate homes. The eldest child, a daughter, 13, is living with her grandmother in Saskatoon; the only son is being cared for by a relative in the foster-care system on Saskatchewan's Kawacatoose First Nation; the youngest daughter is living with her father in the prairie province's Onion Lake Cree Nation community. The three children are expected to attend the funeral, set for later this week in Saskatchewan.
"I feel so sorry for the little boy," said Caroline Poorman, a Kawacatoose band councillor who is raising the woman's 10-year-old son. "When I learned it was Angela, I thought, 'Oh my God. Every night, he prays to see his parents.'"
Angela Poorman's cousin, Jeana Poorman-Edenshaw, said she was in touch with the medical examiner's office Monday and was told the autopsy revealed the woman suffered multiple stab wounds. It was one to the chest, she said, that killed her.