Fort Good Hope residents will need time and community support to deal with the death of Charlotte Lafferty, a mother of three who was murdered in the community last week, but they have dealt with tragedy before and will do it again, says the chief.
Greg Laboucan, chief of Fort Good Hope, told The Journal the community will be supporting all who have been affected by the tragedy, which includes the family and friends of the 17 year-old charged with the murder of Lafferty.
“They are also victims in all this, as well, and we have nothing but support for them,” Laboucan said.
Lafferty was found dead in the early morning of Monday, Mar. 24 near the seniors complex. RCMP were later on scene and charged a young man from the community with first-degree murder.
“This is something that is going to take a long, long time, if ever, to get over. It’s just a horrible tragedy and one that, you know, we have a big empty hole right now in our community,” Laboucan said.
The community held a candlelight vigil for Lafferty Monday night, organized hours after news circulated of the murder and charges. More than 40 people were in attendance, including the family of the victim.
A trauma team has been brought into the community from Tulita to provide grief counselling.
Reports that alcohol was a factor in the assault prompted the chief and council to request an emergency 30-day ban on importing liquor into the community.
RCMP response time a concern
Fort Good Hope chief and council met with RCMP officers Tuesday to discuss residents’ concerns about response time after rumours circulated that the body was left in the street for more than an hour before RCMP showed up to investigate.
“Some people were saying it took over an hour for them to respond, but according to (RCMP) records, it was all within 15 minutes from the time the initial call happened,” Laboucan said.
The community is generally content with the performance of RCMP officers in Fort Good Hope, he said, but the meeting was an important debrief following the rattling tragedy.
Laboucan said there are still some concerns that emergency calls made outside of the Fort Good Hope office hours go through Yellowknife dispatchers, which can slow down response time.
“It delays (things) because there are so many questions and answers they are trying to get and sometimes we feel that they are the ones determining if they should call the RCMP or if they shouldn’t,” he said. “It can get frustrating, especially with an emergency such as this one, to go through all of that. That just takes another five minutes away from the response time.”
RCMP officers in the community suggested in the future that residents inform the dispatcher of the emergency, ask them to contact the Fort Good Hope officers, then leave their name and number to avoid lengthy questioning.