Lesbian murdered in northern BC
The couple drew stares and insults since they were open about their relationship, Funk says, but they didn't care.
"I knew she loved me, and I loved her," Funk says.
But on the night of Nov 27, Leslie's body was discovered after police saw a truck pulling off an unused logging road onto Highway 27 about 22 kilometres north of Vanderhoof.
Given the time and area, the Fort St James officer pulled the truck over. The officer spoke with the driver and, based on his observation, detained the man.
Police summoned the assistance of a Conservation Services officer in order to conduct a thorough search of the area.
"The conservation officer followed the vehicle tracks back into the area from which it had emerged," says RCMP Cpl Dan Moskaluk. "The area with fresh snow cover was undisturbed by little else, if anything, but the truck which had been stopped by the officer."
Shortly after, Moskaluk says, the conservation officer found the Fraser Lake teen's body a distance away from the side road.
"The state of the young girl indicated that she had been murdered just hours before the man's arrest," Moskaluk says.
Cody Alan Legebokoff, 20, of Prince George has been charged with first-degree murder and remanded in custody without bail.
"I want to go [to the trial]," Funk says. "Loren was a wonderful person. Even the people who were rude to her, she was nice to people. I couldn't imagine anyone hurting her. I couldn't hurt her."
She says she received a text from Leslie on Nov 27 saying "she was riding around with Cody in Prince George."
Funk says she'd never heard of Cody before, but says he may have been someone Leslie knew from school.
She says her girlfriend was very trusting - to a point.
"She believed in giving people a chance," Funk says.
"People are open and honest about straight relationships, and I was proud to be with her," she adds.
Moskaluk says the RCMP is not currently looking at homophobia as a motivation in the death. "We really haven't come up with that," he says.
Funk says she and Leslie were very open about their relationship but were banned from going to a school dance together at Nechako Valley Secondary School.
"They wouldn't let us in as a couple," she says, adding that straight couples were being let in for a lower price.
"We were very upset," she says. "I paint, so I painted Gay Pride on two T-shirts and we wore them around the school.
"Some people would stare at us, some people would glare, some people would whistle," she says.
Funk says a teacher once chastised her for kissing Leslie on the forehead in class. The teacher told them it was inappropriate, she says. "It made us angry."
Among the values listed on the Nechako Lakes School District's website are: treating people with dignity and respect; having diverse cultures work together to build open communication; helping all individuals feel connected through a sense of belonging; and making sure all facilities feel safe and welcoming.
Autopsy work on Leslie's body included flying it to Pennsylvania for further examination. No details have been released.
Moskaluk says Leslie's remains have now been released to her family.