Whitehorse Daily Star

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MISSING WOMAN – Regina Irena Thyrone, 35, was last seen last Friday evening in Whitehorse. Photo courtesy RCMP

Grief-stricken staff mourn woman

Regina Irena Thyrone volunteered to come to the territory as part of a personnel-sharing project between the Vancouver and Whitehorse offices of the federal Department of Justice.

By Whitehorse Star on April 19, 1999

Thyrone was the woman Whitehorse RCMP reported missing after she didn’t show up for work here on April 17. Her body was discovered last Friday behind the Robert Service Way softball diamonds, and a suspect was arrested two days later.

Whitehorse artist Daniel Hummel, 38, has been charged with first-degree murder and will appear in court May 10.

Thyrone’s boyfriend, Tien Nguyen, 34, spoke to The Vancouver Sun after learning that her body had been found and told the paper he was in shock.

“I love her and I will miss her dearly,” said Nguyen. “I just want to thank the RCMP, the searchers and the friends and family for helping this whole week.”

He was expected to attend a Whitehorse memorial service that began early this afternoon at Rotary Peace Park.

Barbara Burns, the regional director for the British Columbia and Yukon federal Department of Justice, has also come to Whitehorse to deal with the fallout of Thyrone’s death.

Speaking with the Star yesterday, Burns discussed the kind of person Thyrone was and the effect of the murder on her co-workers.

“She valued other people. She was cheerful and very nice to have around.” Burns also said Thyrone would not have naively put herself in a dangerous situation: “She lived in an area of Vancouver for 10 years that is very dense and very urban, so she was not the kind of person who would foolishly misunderstand circumstances.”

Burns called Thyrone “very nice, very outgoing, thoughtful and quite mature.”

“She was a delightful person. Very community-minded and just one of those people that was really liked and respected by everyone she met.”

Thyrone was a financial clerk with the corporate service group of the justice department, where she had worked for the past four years in various capacities.

Thyrone had come here as part of a personnel-sharing program aimed at aiding the smaller communities in dealing with the heavy workload.

“Thyrone was part of our 12-person financial group and they were a very close-knit group. So it has been terribly difficult. There is a great deal of grief,” Burns said.

She also talked about the difficulty the murder has created in that small group.

“These people worked as a team. They were a real community. They socialized together, they worked together, and they looked after each other.”

Thyrone had not been to the North before, so when the opportunity arose through work, she jumped at it.

The call for volunteers from Vancouver employees was a matter of supplementing an overloaded Whitehorse office, said Burns.

“We had asked if people were interested in coming up for short work assignments. It was a matter of just calling for volunteers, because the opportunity to travel to Whitehorse is generally quite attractive.

“She liked to travel, so this was a great opportunity.”

After arriving in Whitehorse, Thyrone took an immediate interest in the community.

Cpl. Scott Noseworthy, the local RCMP spokesperson, said, “I worked with her on the Law Run (April 14). She was a really nice person. It’s a terrible situation.”

Thyrone also took an interest in the local first nation’s culture, going so far as to look into purchasing an original piece of art from Hummel.

Burns spoke about the effect of Thyrone’s murder on the local federal justice office employees.

“The people in the Whitehorse office are every bit as devastated. They have a lot of grief, too, in part because someone came up to help them with a lot of enthusiasm and commitment and was harmed.

“We’re struggling to find ways to keep the support flowing up here.”

As part of that support, Burns said she is looking into either having a quiet ceremony for Thyrone’s co-workers in the Whitehorse office or flying those interested in attending the Vancouver ceremony down to that office.

“Everyone really liked her. It was a shock and a tremendous loss,” concluded Burns.

By Michael Hale

The Whitehorse Star, April 19, 1999

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