01/03/2014 10:15 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 08:17 EST

Shirley Lewis-McFarlane Dead: Ontario Mother Believed Murdered In Jamaica


Family members of a Canadian mother of three who Jamaican police believe was murdered continue to seek answers as to who would have killed someone they describe as "caring" and "so full of life."

Shirley Lewis-McFarlane of Aurora, Ont., was found dead in the bedroom of her St. Ann rental home on Dec. 30, 2013, the Jamaica Observer reports. A neighbour of Lewis-McFarlane made the discovery and St. Ann police say the 53-year-old Canadian suffered severe bruising to her face. An official cause of death has yet to be revealed.

Seems like there was some blunt force applied to her face that might be the cause of her death, however a post-mortem will be conducted which will determine the cause of her death,” said St. Ann Superintendent of Police Yvonne Martin Daley in an interview with the Toronto Star.

Family members add that multiple bones in her legs and arm were broken.

Lewis-McFarlane regularly travelled between Jamaica and Canada, but settled permanently on the Caribbean island in November according to her 27-year-old son Shawn Gavigan. While getting set up, Lewis-McFarlane was staying by Discovery Bay in St. Ann’s Parish.

The area, located on Jamaica's northern coast, is the country's largest parish -- the equivalent of a province or state. The parish is a popular destination for tourists due to its natural beauty and its history as the birthplace of notable reggae singers, such as Bob Marley.

In 2001, Lewis-McFarlane married her second husband, a Jamaican citizen, according to the Toronto Sun.

Her 29-year-old daughter Amanda Gavigan said Lewis-McFarlane was more than just a mother to her and her siblings.

“She was so full of life and tried to help anyone in need,” Gavigan told the Sun. "My friends always called her their second mother. She loved all her kids, and would brag about us all the time, saying she is so lucky. But really mom we’re the lucky ones.”

“Not only did I lose my mom, I lost my best friend in such a malicious way. It still doesn’t seem real, but it is and I’m counting on justice to be served.”

Friends and family have set up a Facebook group, Support For Friends And Family Of Shirley Lewis-McFarlane, as a place for people to leave their condolences.

Shirley was a wonderful, caring mother of 3 children; Jasmine, Amanda, and Shawn. She was taken way too early while in Jamaica. She was discovered on Dec 30, 2013 in a home she was staying in while visiting the country. This was a shock to all of us, especially her close friends and family.

"Shirley you were such an amazing woman. Always smiling and laughing and loved to joke around. I was looking forwards [sic] to visiting you in Jamaica. I'm so sorry this has happened to you. So going to miss your beautiful voice and your beautiful face. Xoxoxoxo" wrote Stephanie Jensen on the wall.

Back at home, Canada's department of Foreign Affairs say they're aware of the situation.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the Canadian Citizen who passed away in Jamaica. Canadian officials are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information and are providing consular assistance to the family,” wrote Mathieu Roy, spokesperson with the department, in an email to the Huffington Post Canada

As for the police in St. Ann, they're now reaching out to the public for help.

"We are appealing to the public to give whatever help you can give to help solve this case," Daley told the Jamaica Gleaner. "We are asking residents not to panic, the police are treating this case with utmost priority."

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