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Canada First homicide victim of year survived getting shot two years ago

12:07  04 january  2018
12:07  04 january  2018 Source:   edmontonjournal.com

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010318-26241494_141295933253499_1660699648_n: Reuben (Ben) Baker, 21, is the first homicide of 2018. He was found near 92 Avenue and 77 Street on New Year's Day at around 1:20 p.m. SUPPLIED / EDMONTON<br />© Supplied Reuben (Ben) Baker, 21, is the first homicide of 2018. He was found near 92 Avenue and 77 Street on New Year's Day at around 1:20 p.m. SUPPLIED / EDMONTON

Edmonton’s first homicide victim of 2018 survived getting shot in the stomach about two years ago, says a woman who has known him since he was a boy.

Ruben (Ben) Baker, 21, was found dead near 92 Avenue and 77 Street in Holyrood about 1:20 p.m. January 1.

“He was the sweetest, kindest, nicest kid,” said Denise Anderson Raymond, who said she was Baker’s mother’s best friend and the mother-figure in his life. His mother died before Baker was 10 years old.

But there were darker aspects to his personality, Raymond said.

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“He lived a high-risk life,” she said.

Raymond, who said she took Baker to his mother’s funeral, said she lost touch with him for several years, but found him again through Facebook when he was around age 16. He immediately moved back in with her.

“He was a quiet, lost little boy,” she said.

About two years later, Baker landed a job at a home appliances store and that is when things really started going downhill, she said.

The six-foot man quit his job, was shot in the stomach and embraced the gangster lifestyle, she said.

“But there’s another side to this child,” she said, her voice breaking. “He had to grow up very fast when his mom died.”

One of Baker’s friends, Kaylee Frame-Ray, said Wednesday she was talking and texting with him hours before he was found dead.

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“I was honestly wondering why he stopped answering my texts, but I didn’t think he stopped replying because he was gone … Benny was an amazing guy, super sweet, mind of a genius and God damn he was a gorgeous man … He was a free spirit, but oh lord, he could be stubborn as all hell. I’ve known him since we were young, and he’s always been overall a great friend. But good God I miss him so much, I wish I could’ve seen him one last time …”

Raymond heard of Baker’s death Tuesday.

“I was lying on my back, relaxing, when they identified him on the news,” she said. “I just stood up. Dizzy.”

An autopsy determined his death was a homicide, although the cause of death was being withheld, police said in a news release Wednesday.

Baker, she said, has other family in Nova Scotia, but as far as she knows they weren’t very close.

Raymond wants to take care of funeral arrangements if possible.

Her best memory of Baker is as a boy on his bicycle as he sped down the lane.

“I don’t care what anyone thinks or what anyone says,” she said, choking back tears. “You don’t just dump someone in an alleyway. You just don’t. Like garbage.”

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Boy, 16, charged with second-degree murder in fatal Oshawa stabbing of 17-year-old .
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