Family remembers 13-year-old girl who died in Sylvan Lake: ‘We are heartbroken and devastated’

After the deaths of two little girls on Sunday, many families are grappling with a pain no parent should ever have to face Sylvan Lake in central Alberta." style="position:absolute;width:1px;height:1px" referrerpolicy="no-referrer-when-downgrade"/>

One of the girls was 13-year-old Olivia Dawn Johnson. Red DeerAnd the other was a 12-year-old girl from Sylvan Lake.

“Olivia left a huge hole in our hearts and in our lives, and our family is still trying to come to terms with the reality of being home bouncing and smiling,” the family said in a statement. Global News on Thursday.

“We are heartbroken and devastated by the loss of Olivia.”

The family said the teenager was a kind soul, always generous in her kindness and care for others. The family said she loved to laugh and her sense of humor was contagious, often making others laugh as well.

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“Olivia was a talented young woman with a bright future ahead of her. She was an accomplished painter, loved hanging out with her friends, and most of all, she made the world and our family brighter.

Click to play video: '13-year-old Red Deer girl who died in Sylvan Lake remembered by family'

Red Deer girl, 13, who died in Sylvan Lake remembered by family

Those who knew her said she was a gift, and even after her passing, she remains a leader in the community.

For many years, she was a member of the Red Deer Indigenous Dance Troupe, which came together this week to celebrate her life with a traditional indigenous ceremony such as smudges, songs, dances, drumming and prayers.

Olivia Dawn Johnson, 13, from Red Deer, Alta.

Credit: Red Deer Indigenous Dance Troupe

The dance troupe staff posted a tribute to the teenager, saying that their hearts, thoughts, prayers and best energies were with the Johnson family at this time.

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“In the midst of this heartache, Olivia continues to be a light and leader to our families and youth. We will greatly miss his kokum energy and beautiful smile.

“What a gift he is to our community.”

In a post earlier this week announcing a celebration of life for Olivia (Morning Star Walking Eagle), her mother, Connie Loken Johnson, said her daughter came home from the hospital on Easter Sunday “and she brought us Easter Sunday left.”

The Alberta RCMP are investigating the deaths of two girls after their bodies were found in a Best Western hotel room in Sylvan Lake, a town about 15 kilometers west of Red Deer that is popular with recreation and lake-goers. popular for.

The night Olivia passed away, her family said she was with a friend at a birthday gathering.

“The way most young women like to do – celebrating dinner with parents, swimming and doing each other’s make-up,” the family statement said.

Police said there was a parent nearby. The family said the two girls had a room next door to their parents, who checked in from time to time.

Best Western Hotel at 5027 Lakeshore Drive in Sylvan Lake, Alta. on Wednesday, April 12, 2023.

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Police said there is no indication that Olivia or the other girl took her own life or were killed, and believe the deaths to be non-criminal.

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“We know there are many unanswered questions, and some we may never have the answers to. For now, our family is focused on supporting each other and grieving the loss of our Olivia,” the Johnson family said.

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RCMP investigating death of 2 girls found in central Alberta hotel room

Alberta RCMP Media Relations Cpl. Troy Savincoff said the medical examiner’s office is looking into the possibility that the girls died of an overdose, but toxicology tests take days to months to complete.

The family said it is confident the RCMP investigation will determine how the evening happened.

“Speculation about what happened will do nothing to advance this work, and will only hurt more at an already incredibly difficult time.”

The family expressed their gratitude to all who kept them in their thoughts and prayers and shared in their grief.

“We are so grateful for the love and support we have received from the community, friends and especially the Red Deer Aboriginal Dance Troupe.

“We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness. We’ll keep it with us. Thank you for respecting our privacy as we move forward.”

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The death of the girls has deeply affected their communities.

“Olivia is forever in our hearts, and she was taken from us too soon. She had big dreams and we can’t believe we won’t be able to cheer her on as she grows up. We know that whatever Olivia chooses to do, she will do as she has always done – brimming with confidence, growing and learning every step of the way,” the family statement said.

“We miss and love Olivia, and we will always remember her vibrant presence.”

Olivia’s wake and funeral are planned for next week in Red Deer.

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