Thousands raised for family of B.C. teacher as manslaughter case against husband proceeds

Naomi Onotera was many things.

She was a mother, a sister, a daughter and a friend.

In her work as a Surrey school teacher-librarian, she touched the lives of the children she worked with.

“Naomi was so loved by her community,” said family friend Alex Lohcham. “She was an absolute advocate for her children and she really cherished her career as an educator.”

But Onotera’s heart belonged to her little girl.

“Naomi really loved her daughter. Her daughter was her whole world,” an emotional Lohcham said.

Onotera, 40, vanished on Aug. 28.

A missing persons investigation quickly escalated as homicide investigators were brought in.

Then, last week, RCMP were back at Onotera’s home. On Dec. 18, police announced that her husband, 49-year-old Obnes Regis, was facing charges, including manslaughter, in connection to her death.

“I know that her community is deeply hurt by what’s happened,” said Lohcham.

A few days ago, an online fundraiser was launched to help Onotera’s two-year-old daughter, as well as the family as it faces unexpected expenses. 

More than $11,000 has already been raised.

“The family is absolutely so thankful and grateful,” Lohcham said. “It’s been really hard around the holidays, but people have also been extremely compassionate and generous to this family.”

She says Onotera’s family is grieving privately, trying to get through their first Christmas without her.

“She’s missed deeply,” said Lohcham.