A 24-year-old Kitchener, Ont. woman whose torso was found in a large garbage bin on the weekend was " fundamentally a decent person" who had spent years struggling with drug addiction and run-ins with the criminal justice system, her lawyer told the local newspaper.
On Tuesday afternoon, Waterloo Regional Police identified the remains as those of Kelsey Louise Felker, but there was no sign of her head and limbs and it remained unclear how she was killed.
It was hoped an autopsy in Hamilton would shed light on the cause of death.
No arrests have been made.
In comments on a sorrowful Facebook memorial page, Ms. Felker was mourned as a caring person with a good heart.
In a message to The Globe and Mail via Facebook, a friend named Lisa Hayman recalled Ms. Felker as an outgoing person who was "a wonderful friend, easy to get along with, didn't show anything that was out of order or not right.... she didn't deserve this."
Another friend, Alicia Timmons, described Ms. Felker as "a great girl" who always had a smile on her face and would do anything for anyone.
"Sure, she went through a tough life and had her fair share of ups and downs but who doesn't," Ms. Timmons wrote in a message.
"It never kept her from achieving anything she wanted to do. Kelsey was a beautiful, fun- loving, caring, outgoing girl with a lot of potential and I am in complete shock as to what happened to her and I hope that police and reporters do everything to find the person responsible for her death."
Her former lawyer, too, told the Kitchener Waterloo Record that in his six years of representing her, his client was always pleasant to deal with.
But her fierce addiction to crack cocaine had dogged her for years and despite numerous attempts at intervention she seemed unable to stay sober, Brennan Smart said.
"She was clearly not interested in pursuing that path," he told the Record.
Among her travails were spells of incarceration at the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton, where at different times she gave birth to two children who were removed by authorities, Mr. Smart said.
Mr. Smart did not immediately respond to a voice-mail message seeking comment.
The newspaper also reached Ms. Felker's father, who said his daughter was herself given up for adoption and was raised by a family in Waterloo Region.
When her torso was discovered Saturday, by a person rooting through a garbage container behind a high-rise apartment in downtown Kitchener, it was clad in a black T-shirt bearing the words "Forget princess I want to be a vampire," in what appeared to be a reference to the movie Twilight.
Police said Tuesday that tips alluding to the distinctive T-shirt were key to identifying Ms. Felker, who had not been listed as missing before Saturday's gruesome discovery.
Waterloo Regional Police spokesman Olaf Heinzel said the immediate task of investigators is to retrace the last movements of Ms. Felker, who did not live in the building where her remains were found.
"The focus of course is on identifying the circumstances in which she died. It's being considered a homicide investigation, so we will be looking for a suspect or suspects who were responsible for her death. And we're still looking for the results of the post-mortem."
Mr. Heinzel added that as far as he knew, there have still been no other body parts discovered.
"I've not received any information to suggest there have been. The hope is that now she's been identified, anyone who's had contact with her might know something about her last hours – where she may have been, who she was with…She was reported missing after the discovery of the remains."
Dozens of police officers have taken a role in the investigation, Kitchener's first homicide this year.
Several other instances of dismembered bodies have made headlines in the past year, including the case of accused killer Luka Rocco Magnotta, arrested in Berlin last summer after body parts belonging to a Montreal university student were mailed to addresses in Ottawa and British Columbia.