Belleville won’t be the same without Jessica Lloyd.
Black clad RCMP officers huddled in the cold and a crowd of photographers looked on from across the street as hundreds of friends, family members and well-wishers piled into the grey stucco chapel at the John R. Bush funeral home on Saturday to pay their final respects to the 27-year-old.
“If you really knew Jessica you knew that she had enough love in her life to touch everyone,” said her cousin, John Lloyd, one of two family members who spoke at the funeral. “She had that wonderful ‘joie de vivre’” added his sister Sarah.
The pair described Jessica as a strong willed, vibrant girl who embraced country living and loved the Toronto Maple leafs so much that she wanted to some day name one of her children “Tie.”
“She loved the beauty of an overnight frost in the countryside,” said Rev. Cathy Paul.
John Lloyd spoke about Jessica’s friendly rivalry with her brother over who had the fastest car, and told the story of his cousin dressing as Tina Turner for Halloween when she was seven.
He said someone asked her if being so heavily made up meant she was supposed to be a hooker.
“She stopped in her tracks, put her hands on her hips and said ‘Yes!’ … she didn’t even know what a hooker was,” he said. When Lloyd was reported missing last month her community rallied together, with volunteers canvassing her neighbourhood and plastering the region with missing persons posters.
“We tried to help as best we could,” says Michael Hayward, who attended the funeral and helped with the poster campaign.
Last week, Lloyd’s body was found off of a rural road in Tweed. Col. Russell Williams, commander of CFB Trenton, was charged with the murder. He’s also accused of killing Corporal Marie-France Comeau, and of sexually assaulting two other women.
The horror of Lloyd’s murder has seared everyone who knew her or her family.
“When I found out that she was deceased, there was such a tremendous sadness,” says Haywood.
“There’s a hole in everybody’s heart.” added Hayward’s wife, Gale.
Belleville is a part of the Highway of Heroes—its residents join with thousands to line the 401 each time a fallen soldier is repatriated—and anyone who grew up playing hockey would play in CFB Trenton’s arena. The close relationship between the base and the city have made the killings, especially of one of Belleville’s most well-known daughters, even more shocking.
“This weird betrayal is very deep in this community,” says Zack Werner, a judge on Canadian Idol who’s also the city’s weekend rock DJ. “It’s a very personal thing. … I think they’re going to feel that around here for a long time. A feeling of alienation. A feeling that it’s not their community anymore.”