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Memorial service on Friday for Erica Schmidt

A roadside memorial on Whatcom Road marks the location not far from where the body of Erica Schmidt was found on New Year
A roadside memorial on Whatcom Road marks the location not far from where the body of Erica Schmidt was found on New Year's Day.
— image credit: Vikki Hopes

A memorial service for Erica Schmidt, whose body was found on New Year's Day after she had been missing for almost three months, takes place this Friday (Jan. 10) in Abbotsford.

The service begins at 1:30 p.m. at South Abbotsford Mennonite Brethren Church, 32424 Huntingdon Rd., and is open to anyone who wishes to attend. The service will also be streamed live online at http://www.alivestreaming.com/broadcasts/4323.

Schmidt's family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Uganda Jesus Village (UJV) Orphanage, which houses 60 youth ages 11 to 22 who were rescued from a refugee camp in northern Uganda in 2006.

Before her disappearance, Schmidt had packed several suitcases filled with goods for the kids and had been scheduled to take them there.

Donations can be made at the entrance to the church at the memorial service or online at www.ugandajesusvillage.info.

Meanwhile, a roadside memorial is located in the vicinity of where Schmidt's body was found in the 2400 block of Whatcom Road on the morning of Jan. 1.

Schmidt, who had a history of depression, had been missing since Oct. 5, when she walked away from the home she shared with her husband, Henry, on Timberlane Drive.

An official search included members of Central Fraser Valley Search and Rescue and the Abbotsford Police Department (APD).

But an unprecedented volunteer effort involved dozens of people distributing "missing person" flyers around the city and police receiving hundreds of tips from across the province.

Const. Ian MacDonald said the response was unlike anything the APD has seen in a missing-person case.

"It was remarkable and truly a testament to Erica and her family … I can't remember any other file like this," he said.

Police have ruled out foul play in Schmidt's death, and the family is expected to address the circumstances at the memorial service.

The "Help Find Erica!" Facebook page, set up the day after Schmidt disappeared, remains active with messages of support being posted along with memories and photos of Schmidt.

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