Carolyn Marie Sinclair, the 25-year-old whose body was found in a garbage bag near a Dumpster on the weekend, was more than a sex-trade worker.

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Carolyn Marie Sinclair, the 25-year-old whose body was found in a garbage bag near a Dumpster on the weekend, was more than a sex-trade worker.

The 150 friends, family and strangers who gathered Tuesday evening for a vigil -- the kind that has become routine in Winnipeg -- said the media and police have dismissed Sinclair as a prostitute when she was a mother, sister and daughter.

Carolyn Sinclair

Carolyn Sinclair

"She was infinitely more than where her life ended," said Nahanni Fontaine, the provincial government's special adviser on aboriginal women's issues. "We blame her. We say she was a sex-trade worker."

The vigil was held in the back lane behind Notre Dame Avenue where Sinclair's body was found over the weekend. The mourners held white balloons to honour Sinclair's unborn child, lit candles next to the Dumpster and tucked roses into a ribbon tied around a power pole. Near the end of a round of speeches and traditional drumming, people let their white balloons go, allowing them to drift off into the sky.

Sinclair had been missing for months, and police said her body had been sitting beside the bin for some time.

No arrests have been made in the murder, one of dozens in Winnipeg involving aboriginal women over the years.

Several speakers Tuesday said they expected to attend more vigils in the future, as more aboriginal women go missing or are slain.

Carolyn Marie Sinclair's mother is comforted at a vigil Tuesday in the lane where her body was found.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Carolyn Marie Sinclair's mother is comforted at a vigil Tuesday in the lane where her body was found.

The event also revealed the aboriginal community's mistrust of police, including the suspicion that a serial killer is at work and police are ignoring it.

Sinclair's grandmother, Mary Pangman, told the crowd she doesn't believe Sinclair's body was left by the Dumpster for a long period of time, as police believe. She called that "a dirty lie."

But she said she took some comfort in the fact her family now knows Sinclair's fate, unlike several families still looking for missing women.

"We have to have faith in the law to try and find the person who did this," Pangman said. "Whoever did this, that person shouldn't walk the Earth."

maryagnes.welch@freepress.mb.ca