Since the trial of David Thomas began, family members of the woman he is accused of killing have been a regular feature in the Kitchener courtroom where the case is being heard.

Multiple people have testified that they could see Denise Bourdeau – who disappeared after leaving a New Year’s party with Thomas in 2007 – was in trouble, and attempted to help her.

Hearing those stories, family members say, has provided some level of comfort.

“Hearing that she did have the support that she did, when she was struggling … was very reassuring,” nephew Zach Larocque told CTV News.

“There were people that did try to help her. Knowing there are people in the community like that (is) really good to know.”

Wednesday’s proceedings began with David Heath, a friend of Bourdeau’s, once again taking the stand.

Heath told the court he and Bourdeau were at the same New Year’s party.

Days earlier, he said, Bourdeau had showed up at his home with a black eye, crying and saying Thomas – her on-again, off-again boyfriend – had hit her.

On New Year’s Eve, Heath testified, Bourdeau arrived at the party wearing Heath’s baseball cap.

That party, jurors heard, was the last time Heath would see Bourdeau – but not the last time he would see the cap.

“Discovering the hat on my way home was a concern,” he said.

Testifying later in the day was Hillary Beacock, the bartender at the restaurant.

She told the court she saw Bourdeau dancing with Heath, then saw Thomas arrive and gesture toward Bourdeau.

“Bourdeau was shaking her head ‘no’,” Beacock said.

Half an hour later, Beacock testified, Thomas returned to the restaurant – eventually putting his arm around her.