Torched woman's family reeling from horrifying death


Mon, December 13, 2004

Family of a woman who torched herself in north Edmonton say they're devastated by her death and the horrifying choice she made when she ended her life. On Dec. 1, the charred corpse of 54-year-old Seta Baghamian was found in a north Edmonton ditch near the junction of 82 Street and 195 Avenue around 10:15 p.m.

"She was such a wonderful person, a very nice lady," said Seta's sister-in-law Marsha Baghamian yesterday from her home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Police initially treated the death as suspicious, but the medical examiner's office later determined that Seta set herself on fire.

"I heard it the first time, and I thought it was impossible," Marsha said.

"I'm still thinking someone did it to her."

Seta's brother Serop is in permanent care and lives in a group home in Edmonton, and she had been living with her mother, Marsha said.

Seta is also survived by Kouvken, a brother living in Jerusalem.

She had no husband or children, and after her mother died two years ago, Marsha and her husband Hrayr - Seta's other brother - tried to convince her to move to the U.S.

But Seta refused.

"After her mother died, she seemed kind of lost. We offered her, please, why don't you come here. Even if you don't come to the United States, just come and visit."

Seta didn't want to leave Canada, and seemed to retreat from the rest of her family, Marsha said.

"She got all alone."

News of her death left Hrayr devastated, she said.

He's now determined to come to Canada to help sort out her affairs, but doesn't realize it's impractical, Marsha said.

Hrayr suffered a stroke and had to undergo brain surgery, which has affected the clarity of his thinking, she said.

Seta's funeral will be held at 1 p.m. today at the Connelly-McKinley Funeral Home at 10011 114 St.