Jennifer Goe doesn't know the Kim Vezina who had a drug and alcohol problem. The Kim she knew was her little sister, who'd make up annoying songs as a kid and do spot-on Austin Powers impressions. The little girl Goe pictures is one with such a dynamite sense of humor that she could make the angriest of folks burst into laughter.
It's the memories of that laughter, and performing Stuart Smalley sketches from Saturday Night Live together, that Goe wants to recall now. "Kim loved to entertain people and make people laugh," Goe says. "She should've been an improv comedian."
Vezina, 27, was found floating near Fullers Bay in Lake Coeur d'Alene on Nov. 9.
Nearly two weeks later, investigators and the people who knew Vezina are still trying to figure out how she could meet such a tragic end. The authorities are seeking witnesses and have labeled her death as suspicious "because people don't normally end up dead in the lake," says Lt. Stu Miller, spokesman for the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office. "And she wasn't reported missing."
Goe, who is 29, was about to head to a parent-teacher meeting when her husband handed her a phone. Her aunt was on the line and Goe immediately knew something was wrong. Her knees gave and she was floored. Her baby sister was dead.
Goe vowed to herself to find out what happened to her sister.
"I'm not going to give up," says Goe, who lives in Moses Lake. "I'm going to see these people on trial. And I'm going to see them be sentenced. Somebody knows something. I have hope."
Vezina and her sister grew up in north Spokane in an area known as Shiloh Hills. In June 2000, their father had a seizure while driving. Both of their parents died in the crash.
"Kim just didn't get the help that she needed when that happened," Goe says.
Their aunt moved them to California, but Vezina returned and went to Mt. Spokane High School because it was home. She got an "SH" for Shiloh Hills tattooed on her shoulder.
She made some bad choices and dropped out of school, Goe says. The death of their parents was a turning point. Goe recognized it and got help. Vezina continued to go down a bad path. Her criminal record included three felonies, including forgery.
"I was just waiting for her to get clean and be a part of my life again," Goe says.
There were a lot of lives she touched in different circles in Spokane, adds Phil Andrade, a close friend and local rapper known on stage as Wildcard. He added with a grin that Vezina called herself the Queen of the Kane. "I wish she could've met more people because she was super helpful," Andrade says. "She was tough, but still a beautiful person."
Besides her sense of humor, Vezina was known among friends for her love of music. For a woman well-known in the hip-hop community, not many knew that the lyrics-reciting, VIP-crashing woman made her own music. She was shy about sharing it with Andrade. Which is ironic, he says, considering she was louder than life in every other aspect.
"If she were here," Andrade says, exasperated and then laughing, "I wouldn't have gotten a word in." ♦A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5, at 1 pm at Cedar Creek Village in Spokane. Anyone with information can reach Detective Darrell Oyler at 208-446-1339 or submit an anonymous tip at kcsheriff.com/anonymoustip.html.