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'She never let the mask slip': Brother's heartache at Monica Reid's death

Author
Carolyne Meng-Yee,
Publish Date
Tue, 18 Jun 2024, 2:59pm

'She never let the mask slip': Brother's heartache at Monica Reid's death

Author
Carolyne Meng-Yee,
Publish Date
Tue, 18 Jun 2024, 2:59pm

WARNING: This article contains upsetting content. Mental health helplines can be found at the bottom of the page.

  • The brother of Te Atatū woman Monica Reid, who was found dead after disappearing last week, has shared memories of his “bubbly” sister.
  • Francis Reid says she was unhappy and he wished “we all could have done more for her”.
  • Monica Reid’s memorial service will be held at 11.30am on Friday at the Trusts Arena in Henderson. All are welcome to attend.

The brother of deceased Te Atatū woman Monica Reid says his baby sister was cherished and a “ray of sunshine.”

The 26-year-old was found dead on Sunday following an extensive search after she disappeared on Friday.

Her death has been referred to the coroner.

Francis Reid, 43, said Monica, known as Mon, was the youngest of eight siblings. She was a sensitive soul with a beautiful smile and always put others before herself.

“Mental illness is a disease but I don’t want to speculate about her state of mind. We knew she was unhappy but we don’t know how deeply it was. You don’t expect something like this to happen to any family. No parent wants to bury their child and for that to be your baby.”

Francis Reid's sister Monica went missing on Friday and was found dead on Sunday.
Francis Reid's sister Monica went missing on Friday and was found dead on Sunday.

Reid, who was close to Monica, said they always told each other they loved each other. She was also an excellent aunt to his four children.

“She never let the mask slip. You Google her and see how beautiful and smart she is but she has this tragic end. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else. What you want is families with mental health challenges to access the support they need. This isn’t a weakness; it is not caused by a lack of love. Monica knew she was loved.”

Monica worked at the New Zealand Transport Agency/Waka Kotahi and was studying urban planning. She was last seen on Matipo Rd, Te Atatū, in West Auckland on Friday afternoon. Her body was found on Sunday.

She came from a musical background and loved singing. She was this year’s Auckland Rose and was in the running to represent New Zealand in the Rose of Tralee International Festival.

She previously studied drama and Italian at Victoria University. It was through a mutual love of acting and drama that she met her fiance, Shivneel Singh. They moved to Auckland, got engaged in January and were looking to buy a house.

Monica Reid and fiance Shivneel Singh. They were buying a house together.
Monica Reid and fiance Shivneel Singh. They were buying a house together.

“We love Shiv to bits; they were very close, and we were delighted for Mon she was getting married,” her brother said. “He is a great guy; his family are wonderful people too. The sadness is we have got to know them far better in the last three days.

“She had a great belly laugh, and deeply cared about you, and that was unique to her. She was passionate about people, animals and the environment. She really wanted to make the world a better place, that was Monica.”

The moment they found out she was missing, the family rallied together on Saturday and searched for her throughout the day and night.

Cecilia, Monica’s sister, flew over from Australia and two brothers came from Wellington and Hamilton. Francis said being together as a family had been a comfort for his parents, Nicholas and Gabrielle.

“The strength of goodwill and effort from the Te Atatū locals was incredible, the messages of support were flooding in. I wish we could have converted those messages into finding Mon alive and well.”

Monica Reid went missing in West Auckland on Friday and was found dead on Sunday.
Monica Reid went missing in West Auckland on Friday and was found dead on Sunday.

He also wanted to thank police, their maritime unit and Land Search and Rescue.

“The efficiency, the thoroughness of their search and their communication through that process and what to expect was sensitive and unbelievably amazing.”

Monica’s service will be held at 11.30am on Friday at the Trusts Arena in Henderson. Everyone was welcome to attend, he said.

“If you have a loved family member going through mental health issues, there are support avenues available. This is a disease and needs to be treated as such. I want to remember Mon as a bubbly, gentle soul who has a deep sense of empathy for people, animals and the world. I miss everything about her and I wish we could all have done more for her.”

SUICIDE AND DEPRESSION

Where to get help:
Lifeline: Call 0800 543 354 or text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: Call 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
Youthline: Call 0800 376 633 or text 234
What's Up: Call 0800 942 8787 (11am to 11pm) or webchat (11am to 10.30pm)
Depression helpline: Call 0800 111 757 or text 4202 (available 24/7)
• Helpline: Need to talk? Call or text 1737
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

Carolyne Meng-Yee is an Auckland- based investigative journalist. She worked for the Herald on Sunday in 2007-2011 and rejoined the Herald in 2016. She was previously a commissioner at TVNZ and an award-winning current affairs producer for 60 Minutes, 20/20 and Sunday.

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