Fun-loving pal mourned

Family and friends have confirmed Vanessa Tagoona is the 29-year-old woman who was found dead in an Ottawa motel room Friday.

Tagoona was discovered around 12:45 p.m. at the Concorde Motel at 333 Montreal Rd.

The Ottawa police major crimes unit is investigating the death, which police describe as “suspicious.”

A tribute page on the social-networking website Facebook describes Tagoona as a Michael Jackson fan who enjoyed dancing, shopping and talking on the telephone as well as “Chillin wit my home girls and boyz.”

Tara Arnatsiaq-Barnes said Vanessa was the life of the party.

“She would get me out of the house and make me have a good time,” Arnatsiaq-Barnes said.

“She was a riot. Everything was funny with her. I didn’t realize I knew her for five years. It went by so fast, but, I mean, I’m happy that I had someone that wonderful in my life.”

Arnatsiaq-Barnes said she met Tagoona through mutual friends from Nunavut.

She said Tagoona was from Baker Lake, but had been living in Ottawa with her mother for several years.

Arnatsiaq-Barnes said Tagoona had worked as an office administrator with the federal government and Inuit groups but wasn’t working at the time of her death.

Dawn-Julia Olson created the Facebook page in tribute to Tagoona, “one of her best friends.” In an e-mail, Olson wrote she was too upset about Tagoona’s death to speak about it.

“RIP Vanessa, you will be missed dearly by everybody,” Olson posted on Facebook. vanessatagoona

Arnatsiaq-Barnes said at first she thought Tagoona had died due to poor health. She said Tagoona had recently been diagnosed with emphysema and had other health complaints. Other friends said she was under 5 feet tall due to a developmental problem.

Arnatsiaq-Barnes said she’s since learned that Tagoona’s mother thought Tagoona was on a date when she died.

“Her mother told me that she was seeing a guy,” Arnatsiaq-Barnes said. “What I’ve been told is that she was staying with a guy and had gone to spend the night with him or something like that.”

Melissa McAleer, a friend, said she was baffled to learn Tagoona was found in a Vanier motel.

“It would take everything to convince her to visit me in Vanier because she didn’t like it here,” McAleer said.

Reached by phone yesterday, Vanessa Tagoona’s cousin Kendra Tagoona said the family is too distraught to talk to reporters.

A viewing is being held tomorrow at Hulse Playfair and McGarry, 315 McLeod St., from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.(from,

Nunavut woman’s death in Ottawa deemed suspicious

Police in Ottawa say the death late last week of a woman originally from Nunavut is being treated as suspicious.

The body of Vanessa Tagoona, 29, was found Friday afternoon in a room at the Concorde Motel on Montreal Road.

Her death is deemed suspicious for now, Ottawa police spokesman Const. Alain Boucher told CBC News.

“The cause of death is not clear to the investigators, so it’s up to an autopsy report and autopsy results to clearly determine the cause of death,” Boucher said Tuesday.

He did not say how long it will take to get the autopsy results.

Boucher said that in the meantime, the police service’s major crimes unit is handling the investigation.

“If it’s deemed not suspicious, then it’s turned over to our district investigators, but if it’s suspicious, then they already have the carriage and they can carry on with their investigation,” he said.

Tagoona was originally from the central Nunavut community of Baker Lake.

Story here.