The search for a missing young woman came to a tragic end over the weekend. On Oct. 13, the body of Stefanie Cummings, who was reported missing Oct. 2, was discovered in a ditch on O'Neil Drive West in Garson.
A couple out walking just before 11 a.m. located the missing woman.
The 24-year-old was last seen by her family Sept. 24. Her vehicle was located parked and apparently abandoned at the New Sudbury Shopping Centre Oct. 2.
Police are continuing to investigate and are treating the case as a suspicious death.
"We are still in the early stages of the investigation," Staff Sgt. Al Asunmaa said Monday morning. "We're trying to backtrack in regards to her whereabouts and we're interviewing individuals she was associating with."
Anyone with information on Cummings' whereabouts prior to Oct. 13 is asked to phone police at 705-675-9171.
Asunmaa said he expected further updates to be provided on the case later Monday, which was after Northern Life's press deadline. Check NorthernLife.ca for updates as they become available.
To those who knew Cummings best, they remember a young woman with a "huge and kind heart who loved people and animals," a woman who was always ready to lend "a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on."
"Stef was a great friend," Sabrina Carter said. "She was great friends with ... my boyfriend, and she was close with my kids as well. We have known Stef for about two years, but in those two years, we have spent almost every day with her. Stef was even with us on Christmas morning last year before she went to her mom's."
Carter said Cummings was the kind of person who "was always there to help others in any way she possibly could."
"She touched everyone she came in contact with," Carter added. "She had a vibrant, bubbly personality and a one-of-a-kind laugh. She was definitely full of life and happy. Always smiling."
Carter said the last time she saw Cummings, which was just after her birthday on Sept. 17, she was "jumping back and forth" in excitement over a birthday gift she had received from her mother.
"Her mom and her were very close," Carter said. "(Stef) would always regularly call her to check in, tell her she was safe."
A Facebook page set up to aid in the search for Cummings, "Find Stefanie," has since turned into a memorial page. Messages of anger, shock, and condolence from the more than 700 members have flooded the page.
Cummings leaves behind her father Steven Cummings (wife Rosie) of Tennessee and mother Kerri Mason-Laari (husband Harvey) of Sudbury, as well as seven step-siblings.
Visitations for Cummings will be held Oct. 18 from 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at the Jackson and Barnard Funeral Home on Larch Street. A funeral service is not being held. Donations or messages of condolences can be made at lougheed.org.