ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Alaska first learned about Veronica Abouchuk, 52, as a crime victim, one of two known victims of accused killer Brian Smith.
Veronica Abouchuk with her grandson in 2011 (Photo courtesy of Rena Sapp)
When Abouchuk went missing sometime in 2018, police said she'd experienced homelessness, something she had in common with Smith's alleged second victim, Kathleen Henry.
It's still not known how Abouchuk and Smith crossed paths.
Through nieces and sisters, her family told KTUU Abouchuk had begun connecting more frequently with family members, and they want her remembered as more than some man's murder victim.
She was, they said, a woman with genuine love for her family.
A celebration of life was held this weekend for Abouchuk, a mother and grandmother with a knack for making individual family members feel like they were each the most-loved of all.
Family photos help piece together her life as a big sister in the Western Alaska village of Stebbins, a beaming high school graduate in 1985, a woman who loved lunches and shopping with sisters, the holidays, and treasured time with grandchildren.
Her family is hurt, angry and grieving that someone stole her from them, a wound that's entwined with their love for her and memories of better times.
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