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'A great loss to all of us': New Westminster murder victim mourned by community

Last Updated Mar 26, 2021 at 10:52 am PDT

Summary

Tributes have been pouring in for Maria (Ma) Cecilia Loreto since the community learned she was killed

Loreto is being mourned by those who remember her as a mother, volunteer, friend, coworker

Two people have been charged with murder, police say they knew Loreto but have not revealed the relationship

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) — The killing of a single mother from New Westminster has prompted an outpouring of grief from the local Filipino community, after her body was found in Burnaby last week.

Armand Perez, Maria (Ma) Cecilia Loreto’s brother, remembers his sister as a loving person.

“My sister is a very good mom, is a very good provider,” he said, remembering her love of music and how active she was in the community.

“She will be dearly missed,” he added.

Tributes have been pouring in for Loreto from friends, including Lady Maridel David, who knew her as Mycel.

“She’s a great loss to all of us, especially to the Filipino community, because she loves volunteering. I want her to be remembered, still a loving and happy person, Mycel,” she said.

She has been trying to come to grips with why her friend is gone, and how she died.

“I wasn’t thinking it was her, but in the back of my head, it could be her, because of the description in the news,” David said. “But still, I wanted to think positive, like, it wasn’t her. So, when I learned that it was her, I got devastated. I wasn’t able to eat and sleep.”

Co-workers at the Vancouver Superstore where Loreto worked are also shocked to learn how the 49-year-old died.

Perez says the support from the community has been heartwarming.

“The community is very good [to] us,” he told reporters. “There are so many sympathies and prayers online. People are very shocked at how this happened.”

The Consul General for the Philippines — Maria Austria– was also saddened to learn how Loreto died –saying there was hope she would be found alive when she was reported missing last week.

Police believe Loreto was killed in her home last Wednesday before her body was moved to Burnaby’s Greentree Village Park, near the BCIT campus, and set on fire.

Charges of first-degree murder and indignity to human remains have been laid against 21-year-old Carlo Tobias and a 15-year-old who cannot be named.