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Family and friends to hold vigil for Brittany Thuney

Family and friends to hold vigil for Brittany Thuney

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Family and friends of a Woodland woman killed in Kelso on May 15 will hold a public vigil at 7 p.m. Friday outside the Allen Street AM/PM, near the location where she died.

Parking will be limited, so Chelsea Eastman, a vigil organizer, said participants should park in the Wilco parking lot nearby. Those who want to bring candles or flowers are encouraged to do so.

“It’s more or less just a place for us to come together and pay our respects and say our goodbyes,” she said. “I know they won’t be able to hold a funeral for a while with the COVID stuff going on. ... (This is) something we can do and kind of share in our grief together.”

Kelso police investigators believe Thuney, 31, was killed in a murder/suicide by the grandfather of her seven year-old child. The case remains under investigation, and police have not yet disclosed what they believe to be the motive. Scott B. Belenski, 60, is believed to have shot Thuney and then killed himself.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic will present obvious challenges to holding the vigil. Gov. Inslee’s stay home order still bans non-essential gatherings.

Eastman said she asks that vigil participants practice social distancing as best they can and avoid gathering in groups, but “I know it’s going to be kind of difficult,” she acknowledged.

Thuney “is the definition of sunshine,” said Eastman, who was friends with Thuney for 15 years.

“To know her was to love her. She was always so positive and supportive to everybody she came into contact with. It didn’t matter who you were or where you came from. She had this ability to know when people needed a friend and was always able and willing to offer that. ... She, first and foremost, was an amazing mother to her daughter. Up to the end she put her first.”

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