Leeanne Lawson’s family wasn’t in court Thursday to see the man accused of killing her.
They simply live too far to make it. But their hearts remain broken.
“Our wounds are open and our hearts are bleeding as, once again, we relive the tragic loss of our beautiful sister, Leeanne,” Melissa Sauder told the Sun over the phone from her home hours away.
Lawson is from Bancroft and landed in Ottawa in 2004, aspiring to be a veterinarian.
She wound up homeless, a client of the Shepherds of Good Hope in Lowertown.
The 23-year-old was found in an alley behind the Ottawa Hydro building at 351 King Edward Ave. on Sept. 2, 2011.
Police haven’t released details about how she was killed.
Marc Leduc, 56, was taken to the police station Wednesday and charged Thursday with first-degree murder in her case and in the death of Pam Kosmack.
Police say DNA evidence links him to the attacks.
Leduc was already in custody for an alleged knifepoint sex attack on a 19-year-old student last November.
One of Leduc’s daughters, Amber, 22, has spoken to reporters about her father.
“I feel bad for her because she lost something too,” Sauder said.
With the arrest 17 months later, “there’s now hope that our hearts will find closure. It is painful to look into the future and know that Leeanne will never be a part of that, to never see her snuggle with my children, to never have those late night sisterly chats,” Sauder said, sobbing.
Sauder is just 14 months older than Lawson.
“It leaves a void that no one can ever fill. Regardless of the life choices my sister made, she was still a beautiful person we love very much,” she continued.
“No matter what, no one deserves to die like that. Nothing changes that, period.”