About 400 people have attended a funeral for north Queensland woman Jo La Spina, who was found dead last month.
Friends and family attending the Queensland funeral of Jo La Spina have spoken of the young woman’s big, warm smile that made people feel loved.
About 400 people packed into a chapel at Innisfail, south of Cairns, to farewell the 26-year-old tour group photographer, who police believe was murdered in April.
“Something that everyone mentioned during the funeral was her ability to make everyone smile,” family friend and Cassowary Coast deputy mayor Bryce MacDonald told AAP after Thursday’s service.
“Her smile itself is a massive smile and it created that warmth and that sense of being welcomed and loved – that’s what everyone mentioned.”
Ms La Spina was found dead in a bedroom of a home at Bingil Bay, south of Innisfail, on April 19.
A South African man who had been living in the area has been charged with her murder.
Mr MacDonald says Ms La Spina’s family – her mother Shelley, father Mark and younger brother Brett – are close and are finding strength in each other and the wider community.
“Without any doubt, that’s where Jo got her strength from and her ability to be loved and liked,” he said.
Ms La Spina’s parents live at Feluga, a rural area 24 kilometres from Bingil Bay, and her father’s family have lived in the area for four generations.
Mrs La Spina has said she’s struggling to come to terms with her daughter’s death.
“Every morning I wake up hoping this is just a nightmare,” she wrote in a letter to the Cairns Post.
“We will love you for ever and ever and then more.”
Police have said Ms La Spina spent the evening of April 18 having dinner and dancing with a group of friends before returning to a friend’s house and heading to bed alone.
Ms La Spina’s alleged killer, Musa Brandon Ngwira, appeared briefly in Cairns Magistrates Court on Wednesday after being extradited from Sydney to face a murder charge.
Ngwira’s case will be mentioned in court on June 18.