EDMONTON — A friend of a 17-year-old student who died after being attacked at her school says the girl had a heart of gold and is dearly missed by her friends.
Dylan Thomas Pountney, 19, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jennifer Winkler. Police say the girl was violently assaulted Monday in a classroom at Christ the King School in Leduc, Alta., just south of Edmonton.
Leduc Mayor Bob Young said Winkler was stabbed, then airlifted to an Edmonton hospital where she died. Schools in the area were locked down until police arrested Pountney about two hours later.
Mounties have said Winkler and Pountney knew each other, but have not commented on a possible motive or on whether the attack was targeted.
"She was one of a kind," said 16-year-old Mackenzie, who only wanted to be identified by her first name.
Mackenzie went to a different school but said she met Winkler, called Jenny by her pals, through mutual friends. She said Winkler helped her get through a difficult time.
"She was definitely somebody that you could trust with anything. Everybody's just overwhelmed with all this. I was sick to my stomach. She is just one of the sweetest girls. She really liked art."
Classes at the school were cancelled Tuesday. The Saint Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic School Division said a trauma support team would be there for the rest of the week to help students and staff.
Roux Royer, a friend of Pountney, said he went to school Tuesday to speak to a counsellor and to support an art teacher who was struggling with Winkler's death.
Royer said he spoke to Pountney just last week.
"We hung out every day, but he was one of those friends that we didn't get into life stuff too much, because both of our lives were pretty, pretty hectic at that point."
Royer also said Pountney was Winkler's stepbrother.
Pountney's father, Nathan Pountney, told Global News that the two knew each other from growing up together and their families had once lived in the same neighbourhood.
He said his son had struggled in the past with his mental health but had been doing well. He was upgrading his schooling and had been accepted into the military.
“This is completely shocking and out of the blue and I’m just stunned," he said. "My eyes are dry from crying so much.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to cover the costs of Winkler's funeral.
"My baby sister Jenny was tragically taken away from us," Tracey Renee wrote on the fundraising page.
"She was only 17 and had so much life left."
Pountney is to appear in court on Thursday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2021.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship
Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press