The family of Abbie Speir, who was found dead at a home in Yellow Grass, Sask., last Thursday, describes her as a vibrant mother of three with "fierce determination, strong opinions, and a huge heart."
An obituary posted on Facebook by Speir's sister Leah Perrault says the 33-year-old had "a small-town love of people, deep loyalty, and unapologetic honesty with a sarcastic sense of humour."
"She was intense and strong, and everyone loved her for it."
Emergency services were called to a home on April 20 in Yellow Grass, about 90 kilometres southeast of Regina, for reports of a fire. There, they found Speir dead.
Cody Hein, who lives across the street from Speir's house, said he came home Thursday to find emergency services on his street putting the fire out.
"It was kind of eyeopening," he said. "I just don't expect it. It's a small town."
RCMP say they identified a suspect, along with a description of the white Dodge truck he was driving. RCMP found the truck travelling westbound on Highway 1 near Swift Current, Sask., but the vehicle failed to stop.
Police deployed a spike belt and RCMP said the truck "was rendered inoperable" and entered the ditch, coming to a stop on its side. The suspect, who was not injured, was arrested at the scene.
Kevin Obina Okafor, 37, of Yellow Grass is facing three charges: first-degree murder, flight from a peace officer and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
He appeared in court in Regina briefly on Monday. His next court appearance is Wednesday.
Motherhood her greatest joy
Speir was born in Saskatoon in 1983, and spent her school years in Elrose, Sask., the obituary says. She went on to study business in Calgary — where her family says she found a love for "big hair, big fashion, and big shoes" — before returning to Saskatchewan.
She worked in the health care field, for the Saskatoon and the Sun Country health regions.
She married in 2004, and had a son in 2007. At the time, she lived outside Kindersley, Sask., and then Dundurn, Sask., before moving to Saskatoon with her son.
Perrault's post says Speir fell in love again and spent time in Calgary before returning to Saskatoon for the birth of her daughter in 2014. Speir had a second daughter in 2015, the year she moved to Yellow Grass.
The Facebook post says motherhood was her greatest joy.
"She played like a child, took the kids on grand adventures, and insisted on hard work and good manners all the time."
In a statement to media issued Monday afternoon, Speir's family said they are fully co-operating with the investigation and asked anyone with information to contact police.
"Our hearts are broken over Abbie's tragic death. Her children are safe. We are overwhelmed by, and grateful for, the outpouring of support and condolences," the statement said.
"To honour Abbie's memory, our family invites you to not wait to seek out the help and healing that might be needed in your own life, families, or communities."
Speir's family has set up a trust fund for her three children. Donations can be made to "Abbie's Family Trust" through TCU Financial in Saskatoon or Regina.