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Shortreed family thanks community for support on 14th anniversary of death

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With mixed emotions, family, friends, and community members gathered outside a funeral home in Fergus, Ont. Monday afternoon in memory of Lucas Shortreed.

Shortreed’s life was cut short 14 years ago.

On Oct, 14, 2008, the 18-year-old was walking home from a friend’s party near Alma, Ont. around midnight when he was hit by a vehicle that did not remain on scene.

In the decade and a half since, police have been searching for those responsible for the hit and run.

It wasn't until Sept. 21 of this year that two individuals were charged in connection to the incident.

"For the past 14 years, it's been really a labour of love, between the community members and our family, trying to get some answers about what happened to Lucas on that Thanksgiving night that he was struck and left for dead on the side of the road,” Jenneen Beattie, Shortreed’s sister, said.

Monday’s gathering was also a chance to speak with loved ones about recent events in the case, Beattie added.

In September, Dave Halliburton, 55, was charged with failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving bodily harm and obstruction of justice.

Anastasia Halliburton, 53, was charged with accessory after the fact and obstructing justice.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Police said a vehicle was also recovered from the property.

“What I've been told to be prepared for is that trial could be a long-term trial, [it] could be a couple of years, and I’ve also been told to prepare for the possibility of a plea," Beattie said.

She said she's not certain whether the case will go to trial, but those are the two possibilities she's been told to brace herself for.

Family friend Jennifer Perry said the ordeal has brought up conflicting emotions and she hopes the family won’t be forced to go through the additional trauma of a trial.

Perry went on to say she always had an odd feeling, driving past a sign offering an reward for information about Shortreed’s death, thinking "someone must know something" but hadn’t come forward to police.

Perry said there was plenty of opportunity for someone involved in the crash to tell their story through all those years.

Despite the uncertainties with the evolving investigation, Beattie said Monday was all about the family appreciating everyone who has been by their side, unwaveringly for all those years.

“Really thankful for the community for showing their support and love to our family and trying to help us find the answers for the past 14 years,” she said.

The Halliburtons are currently out on bail and expected to be back in court on Oct. 25.

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