'Gentle souls' mourned at vigil for murdered mom, daughter

·4 min read
Dozens of people attend Saturday's vigil on Anoka Street to remember Anne-Marie and Jasmine Ready, the mother and daughter fatally stabbed outside the home on June 27. Anne-Marie's other daughter, Catherine, survived the attack. (Avanthika Anand/CBC - image credit)
Dozens of people attend Saturday's vigil on Anoka Street to remember Anne-Marie and Jasmine Ready, the mother and daughter fatally stabbed outside the home on June 27. Anne-Marie's other daughter, Catherine, survived the attack. (Avanthika Anand/CBC - image credit)

With tears in their eyes and flowers in their hands, more than 100 people gathered Saturday evening in front of the Anoka Street home where a mother and daughter were stabbed to death nearly a week ago.

Sombre music filled the suburban Ottawa street as people stood in silence remembering 50-year-old Anne-Marie Ready and 15-year-old Jasmine Ready.

"They were such gentle souls," said Tyler Glenn, who trained with them at a Douvris Martial Arts studio, where they'd just received their black belts a fortnight ago after years of training.

Glenn said he was in "complete denial and complete shock" after hearing about the pair's deaths at the hands of 21-year-old Joshua Graves, the son of the family's next-door neighbour.

According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ontario's police watchdog, Ottawa police received a 911 call around 10:30 p.m. on June 27.

Officers arrived at the house on Anoka and found Graves stabbing Anne-Marie Ready's 19-year-old daughter, Catherine, in the road.

When he allegedly refused to drop his knife, police shot and killed him — hitting Catherine as well. She was the only one to survive the stabbing attack.

Graves' own family members have said he suffered from mental illness and had a "romantic" interest in one of the victims. Just three days before going on the stabbing rampage, Graves had been arrested and charged with sexual assault and stalking a 16-year-old girl.

He was then released from custody.

'Deeply disturbed'

While people came to grieve their loss, many still had lingering questions.

"I am curious as to how a 21-year-old, who a week prior had been charged with sexual assault, was allowed to run free with a knife," said neighbour Scott Babbitt.

Babbitt witnessed the incident, and said he's "deeply disturbed" and has "vivid" memories of it. On the night of the murders, Babbitt said Graves had been left unsupervised near several other girls who live on Anoka Street.

Claudine Richard/Radio-Canada
Claudine Richard/Radio-Canada

The tragedy took place the same day a high–profile coroner's inquest into the murders of three women in Renfrew County released 86 recommendations aimed at eradicating violence against women.

Lawyer Pamela Cross, who was part of a panel of experts at the inquest, said the coincidence was staggering and called last week's killings — just like the 2015 murders of Nathalie Warmerdam, Anastasia Kuzyk and Carol Culleton — clear acts of "femicide."

It's important to distinguish "femicide" from "homicide," Cross said, as the former is an act of killing girls and women because of their sex. One of the recommendations made by jury members at the inquest was to include femicide in the Criminal Code of Canada.

"It's deeply disturbing, in so many ways … that someone that young is already so shaped by the misogynist values that frame a culture we all live in," she said.

Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est/Katherine Sauvé
Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est/Katherine Sauvé

'Girls don't feel safe'

Alta Vista community member and womens' advocate Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims said she organized Saturday's vigil not only to allow people to grieve and mourn, but to raise awareness about violence against women and mental health issues.

"Every time women are lost to violence [like] this, it's a reminder that we have so much work we still need to do to prevent the circumstances that lead to violence against women and to really try and get to the root causes," she said.

Farhoumand-Sims said she wonders about the things that could have been done to prevent the attack against Anne-Marie, Catherine and Jasmine Ready.

Avanthika Anand/CBC
Avanthika Anand/CBC

Douvris Martial Arts is accepting donations to help Catherine Ready as she remains in hospital six days after the attack.

The SIU, which investigates deaths and serious injuries involving police, among other things, said Tuesday she was in serious but stable condition.

Jana Marcoux, a friend of Catherine's who was at the vigil, said the two took classes together at the University of Ottawa. She described her friend as "bright," "full of life" and "always in a good mood."

Marcoux said she's hoping and praying for her friend's recovery, adding that the realization the Readys were targeted because of their sex makes her afraid for herself and other women.

"It's scary to know that I have a friend in the hospital right now, without a mother or a sister," she said. "Girls don't feel safe."

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