'It rips my heart apart': Community mourns slain Port Alberni woman
An 18-year-old Port Alberni woman has been charged with murder after an altercation that was allegedly set off by a stolen sweater.
Autumn Desjarlais is charged with the second-degree murder of Carlene Jack, 19, according to court documents.
Desjarlais was arrested early Wednesday morning along with two other young people who have since been released from custody without charges.
She was allegedly involved in a fight at Bute Street and 5th Avenue in the Vancouver Island town that left Jack with critical injuries, which she later succumbed to in hospital, police said.
Witnesses say a fight broke out between a group of girls at around 1 a.m. Family and friends say the altercation was sparked by a stolen sweater, and that Desjarlais and Jack knew each other.
“She was trying to be a hero,” Jack’s stepfather Barry Foster said. “These girls took something of her sister’s from our house. They were leaving our house and Carlene went chasing after them.”
A makeshift memorial for Jack sprung up Thursday near the intersection where she was killed.
Many left flowers and pictures in remembrance of the young woman who friends and family said had a “heart of gold.”
“I just wanted to show some support for such a tragic act in our community,” said Jacques Giovitti. “We don’t need this type of stuff going on. It’s just terrible.”
“It rips my heart apart that it happened,” said family friend April McCarthy. “It rips my heart apart that my friends have to suffer this.”
Desjarlais, who is just old enough to stand trial as an adult, made her first court appearance Thursday.
She has been remanded in custody at a women’s correctional facility on the mainland and will make a second court appearance next Wednesday.
Family and friends of Jack’s say funeral plans are underway.
With a report from CTV Vancouver Island’s Scott Cunningham