‘We are her voice now’: Family of Kendara Ballantyne look for answers two years following her death

WINNIPEG — Family and community members are walking to honour the life of an 18-year-old girl found dead in The Pas, and are looking for answers two years after her death.

Kendara Ballantyne was reported missing in The Pas on July 26, 2019. Her body was found behind the University College of the North nearly two weeks later on August 6.

The years since have been hard for Kendara’s grieving family.

“Our grief unknowingly created the distance where we’re all just trying to do our best,” said Kendara’s sister, Gloria Ballantyne-Packo.

“It’s still just as fresh today as it was two years ago.”

Ballantyne-Packo said she remembers her sister as kind-hearted and loving to everyone she met.

“If someone needed the shirt off her back, she would give it to them,” Ballantyne-Packo said.

“The joy that she had for life and the dreams that she had for herself were just so infectious that it made you want to do better for your own life as well.”

Ballantyne-Packo, along with Kendara’s cousin Desarae George, have organized a community memorial walk in honour of her sister. This is the second walk organized for Kendara in the community, and the two plan to continue holding annual memorial walks for Kendara.

“We’ve received tremendous support from many people in this community. Obviously, everybody was deeply affected by the loss of Kendara,” said George. “Tonight’s walk, we are hoping to just raise awareness around MMIWG and also it’s a way for our family to honour Kendara’s memory.”

Along with the memorial walk, Kendara’s family has created the Kendara Ballantyne Memorial Award – a cash prize given to a graduating student at Margaret Barbour Collegiate Institute.

Ballantyne-Packo and George said these memorials are possible through donations and help from volunteers in the community.

“We have a lot more dreams and hopes that will continue to come out of honouring her life,” Ballantyne-Packo said.

The walk begins at 5:30 p.m. on Friday in The Pas, behind the University College of the North.

Ballantyne-Packo and George said people who want to donate or help with Kendara’s memorial can contact them through social media.

“We’re doing this to honour and remember her – we want to keep her memory alive,” George said.

“She’s no longer with us here, and we are her voice now. And we need answers, our family needs closure.”

They are asking anyone with information about Kendara’s death to contact them, the RCMP or Crime Stoppers.

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