More than 100 gather for candlelight vigil for murdered New Brunswick teen

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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FREDERICTON - More than 100 people gathered on the weekend for a candlelight vigil in Fredericton to pay tribute to murdered teenager Hilary Bonnell.
Remains of the 16-year-old girl from Esgenoopetitj First Nation, also known as Burnt Church, were discovered in a remote, wooded area near Tracadie-Sheila, N.B., more than a week ago.
Bonnell was last seen Sept. 5.
Among those who attended Saturday's vigil were relatives, friends and neighbours of Bonnell and her family.
Also in attendance were people who never met the girl, but were saddened when they heard about Bonnell's story.
The vigil was led by drummers Angee Acquin, Maggie Paul and Alma Brooks.
Curtis Bartibogue, a member of the Eskinuopitijk First Nation band council, said there was potential for something good to come from the tragic event.
"Hilary touched a lot of hearts across Canada," he said. "We know that her life was cut short, but there's a plan for everything and I think maybe her plan was to unite our people and make us stronger."
Bartibogue is also Bonnell's cousin. He said he's overwhelmed by the number of people who have offered their support and condolences to his family.
"It touches me to see how many people have shown their support," he said. "It's just too bad that we only come together like this in a crisis."
Carmen Gill, director of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research, said Bonnell's death is evidence that more has to be done to prevent violence against women - especially aboriginal women.
"Aboriginal women report higher rates of violence than other women," Gill said. "The aboriginal and the non-aboriginal community and government need to work together to find solutions ... We need to learn from Hilary Bonnell's death."
Vigil organizer Lisa Dupont said she wanted to honour Bonnell's life and speak out against violence.
"We have a serious problem on our hands," she said. "People are tired of the violence ... People are tired of being afraid for their children's lives. Violence has become an epidemic."
Bonnell's funeral took place Thursday.
Police have yet to lay charges but they have a person in custody.

Organizations: Burnt Church, Eskinuopitijk First Nation band council, Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research

Geographic location: New Brunswick, FREDERICTON, Canada

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