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Foster Alumna Murdered
July 17, 2011 permalink
Former foster girl Margarita Shumakova has been found murdered near Uxbridge Ontario. The story below gives the memories of her friend in foster care.
Slain teen's friend remembers gentle girl
Margarita Shumakova wasn’t like the other girls in the foster home.
When her long-time friend, Isys McKoy met the 14-year-old Shumakova she knew instantly she had found a friend.
“She was this sweet little Russian girl,” says McKoy, now 20, of that time about four years ago. “She wasn’t tough like the other girls there. I wasn’t either and that drew us together.”
The two girls only stayed in the Toronto-area foster home for a short time, returning back to their own separate homes once some typical teenager family issues could be ironed out with their mothers.
Although Shumakova and McKoy lived apart, their friendship stayed as strong as ever.
But word from a friend earlier this week that a body found on the side of a rural road near Uxbridge was Shumakova gave McKoy a horrible shock.
The 18 year old hadn’t been seen since Canada Day weekend when she disappeared after last being seen around 1 a.m. on July 3 outside City Nightclub on Richmond St. W. in Toronto.
“She wasn’t a friend to me, she was family, McKoy says. “Margarita was two years younger than me so she called me ‘big sister’ and I called her little sister.”
Shumakova was over at her home so much that McKoy’s mother and brother felt like she was a part of the family, she says.
Shumakova was always concerned about her friend’s overly-trusting and excessively caring nature — although, most of the time, it was endearing.
On a family trip to Guelph shortly after the girls met, the McKoys brought Shumakova along.
On that trip, McKoy remembers them taking a walk by themselves one afternoon when Shumakova spotted a wounded bird along the trail.
The tiny bird was scraping its wing on the ground, trying to remove a thistle that was preventing it from flying.
Shumakova, just 14 at the time, was so distraught she was driven to help the creature for over an hour. She insisted on waiting until a man with a Swiss Army knife cut off the thistle, and the little bird flew away free.
“She stood there, watching it fly away, and she cried, “ McKoy says, her voice muffled by tears.
McKoy says it was precisely that innocent sweetness about her friend that she always feared would get her into trouble.
As the years went by, McKoy became a flight attendant, and although she didn’t see Shumakova as much because she was busy with work, she kept tabs on her “little sister” through Facebook.
What she saw made her uncomfortable.
“The people in the photographs she was in looked sketchy and there were photos of her doing things on there that just didn’t seem like her, really. Like there were photos of her getting tattoos,” McKoy says.
McKoy said she was surprised by what she saw on her 18th birthday when Shumakova showed up at the party.
“She didn’t seem like the girl I remember,” McKoy says. “She was speaking differently, like she was more influenced by gangster culture.”
Although McKoy worried, she didn’t want to interfere with Shumakova’s lifestyle.
“She was two years younger than me and I thought it was just a teenage phase she was going through,” she says.
But McKoy received that frantic phone call while she was working as a flight attendant on a trip to Germany. It was from a friend, telling her that Shumakova was dead and her body had been found near Uxbridge.
“I feel like what happened to her was my fault,” McKoy sobs. “She was hanging out with the wrong crowd and because I was older, I should have steered her in the right direction.”
She says she wants her friend to be remembered as the sweet, caring girl she knew and she knows, at heart, she always was.
“She was just so naive,” McKoy says. “It seems impossible to taint something so pure.”
Source: Toronto Sun