Shock and grief have rocked friends and family of Naomi Onotera, following news that her husband has been charged in the death of the Langley City teacher, who went missing more than three months ago.
Friend Tia Poy said her “world came crashing down” when she heard the news.
“We have lost an amazing, kind, compassionate, sweet, wonderful sister, daughter, mother, and my very best friend,” Poy told the Langley Advance Times.
“Naomi worked as a librarian where she was happiest teaching children to read, that’s the kind of person she was. I am heartbroken and at a loss for words after learning about this devastating news. My life will never be the same without her. R.I.P. my beautiful friend.”
“Everybody who knows her is beyond devastated,” said another friend, who asked not to be named.
An emotional Dan Frisk, whose family was close to the 40-year-old mother and Surrey elementary school teacher, said the last time he saw Onotera was when he happened to run into her during a shopping trip, and the proud new mom showed him a photo of her daughter.
“We said, ‘see you later, take care,’” Frisk recalled.
Frisk, one of the volunteers who plastered Langley City with posters of Onotera, described her as a part of his family, “part of Christmas, part of birthdays, part of good times, and bad times,” Fisk told the Langley Advance Times, calling her “well-loved.”
On Saturday, Dec. 18, Sgt. David Lee, spokesman for the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT), said charges of manslaughter and indignity to human remains have been laid against Onotera’s husband, 49-year-old Obnes Regis, who was arrested on Friday, Dec. 17.
He confirmed that the remains of Onotera had been located, but would not say where.
Forensic investigators returned to the Onotera home on Friday, Dec. 17.
By Monday, they had gone.
Late Saturday morning, a small white four-door sedan was towed from the house, where forensic experts in white protective suits could be seen on the premises.
“We know this is not the outcome everyone was hoping for,” Lee said.
“We understand the community has been anxious for answers and this has been a difficult time everyone,” he added.
“We hope this arrest provides some answers and assuages some fears.”
Onotera was last seen on Aug. 28.
Lee said an “extensive missing persons investigation” by Langley RCMP led to “the determination that foul play was suspected.”
On Sept. 13, IHIT took conduct of the investigation, working with the Langley RCMP, Integrated Forensic Identification Section (IFIS), and other specialized units from E-Division.
“As part of that initial investigation, an extensive search was completed at Naomi Onotera’s residence and evidence was recovered,” Lee said.
He did not give details.
Court records show Regis was scheduled to appear before a Surrey provincial court judge on Tuesday, Dec. 21 for a hearing.
A ban on publication of details has been imposed.
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