Thursday, September 10, 2009

Woman was turning life around, says ex-boss

A Calgary woman found dead this week under circumstances police described as suspicious was working hard to turn her life around, her former employer said.

The body of Laura Furlan, 38, was found by a passerby in Fish Creek Park on Monday.

Furlan worked as a temporary employee in downtown Calgary but there have been reports she had a difficult life and struggled with addictions.

Among other jobs, Furlan worked for Dawn Harvey as an assistant for 18 months at a major oil company in downtown Calgary.

"Laura did have hopes for her future and a better future," Harvey told CBC News. "She had her son that she loved and was very proud of. It's sad he's been robbed of his mother at this point in his life."

Furlan had been taking courses at Mount Royal University to upgrade her skills and while occasionally working as an office temp, had recently landed another permanent job, Harvey said.

"Last time I had talked to her was the middle of August," said Harvey, who added Furlan had left a relationship that "wasn't good" sometime in the past year.

"I'd just like people to give her the benefit of the doubt," said Harvey. "The police are investigating it as a suspicious death. It's unlikely that Laura brought this on herself and I think we should just ... remember her as she was and not make a bunch of speculations about things we don't know anything about."

On Thursday afternoon, Furlan's sisters, Lisa Diaz and Michelle Furlan, urged anyone with information to contact police.

"Someone out there may be able to help us understand how and why we have lost Laura. We, along with the Calgary Police Service, need answers. Please, if you have any information contact police.

"We ask that you keep in mind that she does have a teenaged son who is grieving her loss," the sisters said in a statement. "He reads the papers and watches the news, as do his friends. As a family, we want him to focus on the positive aspects of his mother's life."

Police are trying to determine Furlan's movements in the two weeks leading up the discovery of her body. Police said Furlan also used the nickname "Lily." Her cause of death has not been released.

Anyone with information about Furlan’s whereabouts between Aug. 24 and Sept. 7 is asked to call police at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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