'a warrior' | 

Sister of alleged murder victim Bruna Fonseca says family living ‘one day at a time’

‘She was a sister who was always helping those who sought help from her’

Sunday World

The broken-hearted sister of alleged murder victim Bruna Fonseca has paid tribute to her, saying she was a “warrior”.

Isabel Fonseca said the family was still coming to terms with the death of Bruna whose former partner has appeared in court charged with her murder.

The 28-year-old librarian was found dead on January 1, shortly after New Year's Eve celebrations, in Cork.

“We are living one day at a time,” she told a newspaper in her native Brazil.

She described her sister as a “warrior and “a discreet girl” but with very well defined goals.

Isabel said: “My sister has always been a very private person with her personal life.

“She was a sister who was always helping those who sought help from her.

“She was without a doubt the nerd of the family.”

And she added: “We still don't know how to deal her death.

“We are living one day at a time.”

Bruna, who came to Ireland in September, wanted to build a new life for herself abroad, Isabel revealed.

She said: “As she was still in Ireland for a short time, she did not tell us if she would be staying there for a long time.

“But she was considering staying outside Brazil for a long time.”

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe appeal has been launched by friends and family to ensure Bruna’s body can be flown back to her South American home

Maria Luiza Fonseca launched the appeal with the aim of raising €30,000.

"The fundraising is to send back Bruna Fonseca's body to Brazil," she explained in the appeal notice.

Over 100 donations were made in the first hour of the appeal being launched.

The surge in donations has raised hopes that the entire funds required will be raised within 24 to 48 hours.

Ms Fonseca, who was from Formiga in Brazil, travelled to Ireland last year for work.

She was employed by BidVest-Noonan contract cleaners.

She had graduated from university in Brazil and had worked for a time as a librarian before deciding to relocate to Ireland last September.

Her work in Cork included duties at the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) which is located less than 100 metres from where her body was found at 6.30am on New Year's Day.

Her body was found in an upstairs flat at Liberty Street in Cork city centre just a couple of hours after she had gone out with friends to celebrate New Year's Eve.

Gardaí and paramedics attended the Liberty Street flat but efforts to revive the young woman failed and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post mortem examination was conducted at Cork University Hospital (CUH) by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster on Sunday afternoon.

Gardaí have withheld the post-mortem findings for operational reasons.

However, they confirmed that Ms Fonseca met a violent death.

Gardaí have appointed a family liaison officer to assist her family in Brazil.

It is understood her family are hoping to travel to Ireland to supervise arrangements for the repatriation of their daughter's remains back to Brazil.

The garda investigation includes an analysis of hours of CCTV footage from premises around Cork city centre, door-to-door inquiries and exhaustive forensic tests at the Liberty Street flat where Ms Fonseca's body was discovered.

Social media postings are also set to play a critical role in the garda investigation in terms of tracking Ms Fonseca's last known movements.

In a tribute, both MUH and Bidvest Noonan hailed Ms Fonseca as a diligent worker - and said they were "saddened and shocked" at her death.

"Even though she was only working for a short time for the company at the hospital she was considered a hard and diligent worker and an esteemed colleague. We extend our deepest condolences to her friends in Cork, and her family and friends in Brazil. May she rest in peace,” they said.

Ms Fonseca's former partner, Miller Pacheco (29), was charged with her murder before a special sitting of Cork District Court on Monday.

Pacheco - who had an address at Liberty Street in Cork - was remanded in custody to appear again before Cork District Court by video link on January 9.

He did not speak during the brief court hearing.

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