A week ago, Leah Larocque was looking forward to seeing her son at Thanksgiving.
Now, she’s planning his funeral.
Avery Levely-Flescher was 20 when he was shot and killed, along with 34-year-old Burnaby resident Brandy Petrie, on a rural road in Langley in the early morning hours of Sept. 1.
Charged in their killings is 21-year-old Travis MacPhail of Langley.
Larocque said her son and parents were planning to make the trip from B.C. to Ontario to visit her and her other children for the holiday in October.
“He was looking forward to that,” Leah Larocque told the Now-Leader over the phone from London, ON Wednesday morning.
Sadly, that family visit will instead be a celebration life.
Larocque acknowledged that her son got into some trouble with the law.
“Avery got himself involved with some of the wrong people which is why we made the decision to move the family and him to Ontario,” she told the Now-Leader. “Avery’s charge was assault.”
Though the family plans on having Levely-Flescher cremated and brought back to Ontario, Larocque said she first wants to hold a vigil in Surrey, where he grew up.
Larocque said her son was raised in Guildford and spent much of his childhood hanging out and playing at Hjorth Park, near 148th Street and 103rd Avenue.
It’s where she plans to hold the vigil, hopefully in the next week or so.
“His friends are really needing some sort of closure,” said Larocque. “His friends really need a spot to grieve, so we’re going to do a candlelight vigil to that end.”
She figured the park was the perfect place, considering “most of the kids could identify playing there with him at that park at some point in his life, at eight years old all the way to 19.”
Larocque said one of her son’s favourite pasttimes was creating digital music, and she plans to incorporate that into the vigil.
“He did a lot of music and it wasn’t just grabbing beats and everything, he was actually making songs from the ground up. So we’re going to have his music playing. Then we’re trying to figure out what else we can incorporate in there, we might do a release of balloons with messages in it.”
Larocque said Avery has “tons and tons” of friends in Surrey.
“I just put together a Facebook profile actually this morning so friends could upload photos and any stories or quotes or anything that they could put up there.”
She wants it to be a happy place, rather than a “wall of condolences.”
“It comes in waves,” she replied when asked how she’s feeling. “His name was made public yesterday, and it seems the more I see his face and name in print, the less real it seems. I’m not sure quite why.”
Larocque hopes her son will be remembered for his “infectious laugh, funny impressions of others and his over usage of the word ‘goofy.’”
“He had never ending support he showed his family and friends,” she continued. “Whether it be giving advice on a new life direction, lending an ear, talking a friend out of suicide or helping another through the tragic loss of her mother.”
She said he did four years with the cadets and worked his way up to sergeant.
“All he aspired to be was part of the army doing humanitarian missions around the world. Little did we know he had been doing these missions throughout his whole life already.”
Larocque told the Now-Leader her son “decided to think education wasn’t his route” and was in and out of quite a few high schools.
The last one he was at, she added, was Johnston Heights Secondary in Guildford.
“That’s probably his most memorable school he was at.”
Larocque was a longtime Surrey resident, for about 30 years, before moving to Ontario last August with two of her other children.
And that’s where she plans to lay her son to rest.
“But there just isn’t enough money to cover cremation and travel costs, bringing him out here, and also being able to do (the vigil),” she said.
Her cousin, Lee Garner, has started a GoFundMe page for Larocque to raise funds for her to travel to Surrey for the vigil, as well as have his remains brought back to Ontario.
“We are hoping we can get her and her children on a plane this Friday September 8th and she would have to return next week,” according to the GoFundMe page, which had raised $190 of its $5,000 goal by noon on Wednesday.
Visit the GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/mom-2-attend-a-vigil-for-her-son.
Meanwhile, MacPhail has been charged with two counts of second degree murder in the deaths of Petrie and Levely-Flescher. He is also charged with aggravated sexual assault, possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition and uttering threats.
“The aggravated sex assault charge is not linked to the homicide victims,” said Integrated Homicide Investigation Team spokesman Cpl. Frank Jang.
Court documents online appear to indicate the offense of aggravated sexual assault occurred on Aug. 31 in Langley.
MacPhail is known to police but he doesn’t have a criminal record, said Jang.
Jang wouldn’t say if the victims knew the suspect. He also didn’t allude to what the motivation for the killings might have been. No other information was provided as the matter is now before the courts.
Early in the investigation, the evidence suggested the crime was not random and there doesn’t appear to be any links with any other acts of violence in the Lower Mainland, police said.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to call the IHIT Information Line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or by email at email@example.com. To remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
With files from Black Press