Shaminder Brar is being remembered as a “gentle, caring person with a heart of gold.”
Gary Goulet, Brar’s boyfriend of six years, said he is devastated by her death. Brar, 34, was the victim of a suspected hit-and-run that occurred on Riverside Road in Abbotsford.
Her body was found by a passerby on the morning of Monday, Feb. 18 between Vye and King roads.
Goulet described Brar as one of the most humble people he had ever met.
“She was so precious,” he said.
Goulet and Brar rented a room in a home owned by Gary Stewart, who also lives in the residence and became a close friend of the pair.
Goulet and Stewart said although Brar struggled with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder that often resulted in drastic mood swings, she had a beautiful, intelligent soul.
She graduated from high school in Abbotsford and attended college, where she excelled in math and science.
Goulet, who called her “Sham,” said she also had an artistic side.
“She was very creative and sensitive. I’d ask her, ‘What do you think this song is about?’ and she’d cry (about the meaning).”
A memorial service for Brar was held Sunday at Henderson’s Funeral Home in Abbotsford and was attended by about 300 people.
Stewart and Goulet said they tried in vain over the years to get Brar help for her mental-health and addiction issues, but “the system failed her.” They said she was often turned away from services and was never properly treated or diagnosed.
The two blame the mental-health system for her death, saying that if she had received the support she needed, she wouldn’t have been wandering the streets – something she did when she couldn’t cope.
Goulet said Brar likely was not thinking about her own safety when she was walking along Riverside Road before she was struck by a vehicle.
She had left her residence on Sunday, Feb. 10 after an argument with Goulet, but did not return home. Goulet reported her missing on Feb. 12.
Folllowing her death, the Abbotsford Police Department heard from a witness, who had seen her on Saturday, Feb. 16 at around 8 p.m.
Police believe she was struck by a vehicle sometime between then and the early morning hours of Monday, Feb. 18.
An autopsy indicated that she had “significant injuries” to her rear torso.
Goulet said Brar had a friend on Riverside Road and that was likely why she had been in that area.
Const. Ian MacDonald said the driver has not yet come forward.
He said police are trying to create a more detailed timeline of Brar’s activities in the days before her death.
At the time of the incident, she was wearing a reddish-pink hoodie, blue jeans and white runners.
Anyone who had contact with Brar from Feb. 10 onward, or who might have seen her in the Riverside Road area, is asked to call the Abbotsford Police at 604-859-5225.