First-degree murder charge laid in woman’s motel killing

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Ashley Kowalewski, Arsenault’s sister, earlier told Postmedia that the mother of three and grandmother was a loving person who went out of her way to help those in need, often giving $20 bills to people living rough around Whyte Avenue.“Lisa was the kind of girl that made sure she had a salon date with her niece or take her niece to the cat cafe,” said Kowalewski at the time. “She just wanted to love everybody around her.”

Kowalewski said her sister lived a tough life, having been sexually abused as a child and then running away as a teen to Alberta from her family’s home in Ontario. She struggled with addiction and mental health problems and had trouble staying off the street, often living in halfway houses and shelters. Arsenault had been staying at the motel where her body was found.

“She could get down to the lowest of the lows, but then boom, she’d be back on top,” said Kowalewski, adding Arsenault was the “queen of comebacks” who remained strong in the face of her struggles and trauma. She’ll be remembered as someone who had an uncanny ability to empathize with the people around her.

“She was the kind of girl that if she came over to your house, she’d be cleaning your kitchen and, you know, sweeping your floor before she left,” said Kowalewski. “You know, just a real down to earth girl.”

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