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'It’s horrific': Community honours Karen Cunningham after Woodstock police call her death suspicious

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A memorial has been set up in the area where 30-year-old Karen Cunningham’s body was found as police in Woodstock continue to investigate her death which has been deemed “suspicious” in nature.

A photo of Cunningham and several bouquets of flowers can be seen on a fence near a trail where police say Cunningham’s car was parked.

 “I look at that picture of that beautiful girl and my heart breaks for her and the family,” said Cheryl Alexander, who lives near the memorial.

Cunningham was initially reported as missing on Feb. 2.

Cunningham was located deceased the following day after an active investigation by police. The area of Mill Street and Sixth Avenue in Woodstock was closed off to the public for multiple hours for an investigation following a grim discovery of her body inside a black Mazda sedan.

“Every day, we would walk by there, and it was the same car sitting there. [We] didn’t know why,” said Alexander. “[We] knew something. It was really bad because they put yellow tape up and wouldn’t let anyone through our street.”

On Tuesday, police said in a press release that “the investigation is ongoing with police treating Ms. Cunningham’s death as suspicious.”

“To be so close to our home and our street, which we’ve always felt here, now don’t feel safe anymore. It’s horrific. I feel so bad for the family. No family should have to go through this,” said Alexander.

The coroner’s office was called in to assist in the investigation.

Police were seen on Wednesday at a house on Mill Street, just around the corner from where she was found. Police said they were there for an ongoing investigation.

“Police definitely in that house investigating in relation to trace Ms. Cunningham’s movements leading up to the event,” said Shaylyn Jackson with Woodstock police.

In her obituary, Cunningham is being remembered as “a very special person whose kindness and zest for life will be greatly missed. She loved her friends and had the warmest smile that brightened every room she entered.”

CTV News Kitchener reached out to Cunningham’s family but they’re asking for privacy.

A fundraiser has been created to help her family cover funeral costs. It has already surpassed $3,000.

Cunningham’s visitation will take place Friday at the Brock, and Visser Funeral Home, and a funeral service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m.

Police have not shared a cause of death or if any arrests have been made but did say it is an active investigation.

Anyone with information about this investigation is encouraged to contact the Woodstock Police Service at 519-537-2323 or Oxford Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at www.oxfordcrimestoppers.com.

With files from CTV London's Ashley Hyshka

 

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