NEWS

Alberta murder-suicide survivor calls support 'amazing'

03/16/2012 08:23 EDT | Updated 05/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Prince Edward Islander Shayna Conway is waking up at home, for the first time since she was left to die on an Alberta highway in December.

The 21-year-old Conway was the only survivor of a murder-suicide that killed four young people near Claresholm, Alta., and was recovering in an Alberta hospital until her return to P.E.I. on Thursday night, when she was greeted by family and friends at Charlottetown Airport.

"Just amazing. I can't even thank anybody enough," said Conway.

"What do you even say? There's no words."

Conway received gunshot wounds to the abdomen, thigh and shoulder that left her partially paralyzed. She told CBC News about the surprise of movement returning to her limbs.

"We were just sitting around, watching my favourite show on the computer. I don't even know how it happened. All of the sudden my toes were moving. I was like whispering to everybody, 'Look, my toes.' I had to keep moving them or I felt like they were going to stop. And then I started to cry and I was like, 'What if they don't keep moving?' But it was really, really cool," said Conway.

"I still have to do a lot of work on my left hand. It's not really doing anything, but [I'm] walking — that's the main thing."

Conway still requires the use of a cane to walk, and cannot go long distances.

Tragic deaths

Conway was driving her friends and fellow Islanders Mitch MacLean and Tanner Craswell to the Calgary airport Dec. 15 to fly home for Christmas, with Tabitha Stepple along for the ride.

They were stopped by Stepple's ex-boyfriend, Derek Jensen, who shot all four of them before turning the gun on himself. MacLean, Craswell, Stepple and Jensen all died.

Conway said the outpouring of support from P.E.I. has been overwhelming as she continues to recover from the gunshot wounds.

MacLean's mother, Diane MacLean, told CBC News on Thursday her family is doing the best they can to get through a difficult time. She worries for Mitch's brothers.

"Mark's in Vancouver and it's hard to judge from this distance. He tells me he's doing good and he's OK. But as a mom you want to see it for yourself, and I think he's trying to protect me from worrying," she said.

"Morgan's been kept really, really busy. He had a friend of his take him to Toronto and meet Ron MacLean and Don Cherry and go to a hockey game, and that gave him something to look forward to. These little rays of sunshine in this sad time is helping them get through it. We're all doing the best we can."

MacLean and her husband Irwin say friends and strangers alike have been helping them since the shooting in December. While there are days she doesn't have much energy, MacLean said she is helping to sell bracelets to raise money for a scholarship in memory of her son and Craswell.

The two were talented baseball players, and the scholarships would be for others looking to play the sport at the university level.

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