By Brent Davis, Record staff
KITCHENER — Kelsey Louise Felker was a sweet, but vulnerable young woman whose troubled life came to a gruesome end.
Felker’s dismembered torso was discovered Saturday morning in a garbage bin behind a Kitchener apartment building. Investigators are working to determine how the 24-year-old Kitchener woman died.
Police identified Felker on Tuesday.
“She was fundamentally a decent person,” said lawyer Brennan Smart, who had represented Felker over the past six years or so as the drug-addicted woman navigated the criminal justice system.
“She wasn’t a hard person at all. She was always pleasant to deal with,” he said. “But you couldn’t help but be discouraged in dealing with her.”
Felker had a powerful addiction to crack cocaine, Smart said.
“It was sad to hear that it was Kelsey that had come to an end in such an undignified manner,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s not out of left field.”
Typically, Smart would represent Felker when she was charged with failing to comply with conditions of her release. Smart said she didn’t steal to support her habit.
About a year and a half ago, Smart succeeded in getting Felker into drug treatment court.
Drug treatment court seeks to provide support, therapy and incentives to non-violent offenders trapped in an addictive cycle. She was not successful.
“She clearly was not interested in pursuing that path at that time,” Smart said.
Her biological father, Kent Felker of Guelph, said while the pair didn’t see each other very much, his daughter would call him periodically.
“She was a very caring girl,” he said.
“She was a good girl.”
Kent Felker said his daughter was adopted and raised by a family living in Waterloo Region.
“There is another side to her. She was not just another crackhead.”
Over the years, Smart got to know Kelsey Felker’s mother and brother.
“The family was supportive of her, but they recognized they had gone as far as they could go with her,” he said.
“They were the most hopeful of anyone that she would come to grips with the addiction and deal with it … I’m sure they’re heartbroken.”
Smart said Felker gave birth to at least two children while she was in custody at different times at the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton.
The babies were immediately taken from Felker by authorities.
A Facebook memorial page was created on Tuesday night with dozens of people expressing their sympathy.
Waterloo Regional Police said that information from the public regarding the black T-shirt that was covering Felker’s torso was an important factor in identifying the remains. The T-shirt had a slogan reading “Forget princess, I want to be a vampire.”
Felker was not listed by police as a missing person prior to Saturday’s discovery.
“She was actually reported missing by a friend shortly after the discovery was made public,” Insp. Kevin Thaler said.
In the wake of the discovery, police received numerous calls from concerned family members wondering about missing loved ones.
“It’s encouraging that we’ve been able to identify this victim,” Thaler said. “At least one family out there knows.”
An autopsy started Monday continued Tuesday in Hamilton.
The superintendent at 250 Frederick St., where Felker’s torso was found, said she did not live in the 16-storey apartment building.
Investigators continue to appeal to the public for information. Police said Felker was five-feet, two-inches tall and had bleached blond hair when she was last seen.
“Every investigative lead we get we’re going to follow up,” Thaler said. “You can never have too much evidence in a case.”
Those who knew Felker said her death brought an already-sad life to an untimely end.
“She died far too young,” Smart said. “She had a lot of life to live.”
Anyone finding suspicious articles on or near their property is asked to call police at 519-653-7700. Anyone with information about the case can also call the homicide branch at 519-650-8500, ext. 8666, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
With files from Frances Barrick and Greg Mercer, Record staff