‘I’ll never meet anybody like her again’: Vigil honours woman Winnipeg police say died by homicide

A community is looking for answers after one of its members was killed in what police believe was a homicide in central Winnipeg.

Friends and family of Norma Jean Sumner, including her mother, gathered near the place she stayed to mourn the 29-year-old Thursday evening.

Winnipeg police said in a news release Monday they received a report of an injured woman on Balmoral Street, between Qu’Appelle and Cumberland avenues, after 12:30 a.m. on Sunday. 

Sumner, from Dauphin River First Nation, was found in the area. Police said she was taken to hospital in critical conditions, and later died.

The release said police were investigating the death as a homicide. No arrests were made.

Dauphin River Chief Lawrence Letandre said police told him the investigation is still ongoing, but that they didn’t provide any other details.

“She was always in contact with family, friends, and even the day before that, people were telling me they had just seen her,” the chief said. 

“She was happy, she was smiling. And then this happened.”

A woman
Norma Jean Sumner, a Dauphin River First Nation member, was found critically injured in central Winnipeg on Sunday, and later died in hospital. (Submitted by Meagen Ednie)

People at the vigil held white balloons with messages to Sumner. They placed flowers and lit candles by the sidewalk where she was found.

Meagen Ednie, Sumner’s partner, said she last saw her a few days before her death. But she added others have told her she had gone for a walk shortly after midnight, after which some people came up to her and attacked her.

WATCH | Vigil for Norma Jean Sumner: 

Friends, family, leaders pay their respects to Norma Jean Sumner

1 hour ago

Duration 1:35

People gathered in downtown Winnipeg Thursday night to remember Norma Jean Sumner, 29, who police say was the victim of a homicide Sunday. Her partner says Sumner was a strong, caring woman and she’s hoping police will find the people responsible for her death.

Ednie said Sumner managed to walk a fair distance back home before she collapsed on the ground.

Sumner “was a very strong woman,” Ednie said. “She was always happy … very generous, caring, strong, confident, loving person. I’ll never meet anybody like her again in my life.”

A woman wearing a red shirt and holding a white balloon
Sumner ‘was a very strong woman,’ Meagen Ednie said. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Ednie said she hopes police find the people responsible for the death.

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Cathy Merrick spoke to the crowd as did Letandre.

“It’s a hard thing to lose from the community, someone you saw grow up,” the Dauphin River chief said. “You can’t express grief in words.”