Friends remember victims from Faro, the Yukon, who shoot like hot and funny people

Two people killed Tuesday in Faro, Yukon, are remembered by friends for their quick wit and kind personalities.

Rachel Rodnunsky said her friend Saenduean Honchaiyaphum, known as Sang, lit up the long winters with her colorful disposition and clothes.

Honchaiyaphum was married to Ralph Shaw, who is charged in her death, but the couple separated in August, Rodnunsky said.

Shaw, 61, is charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault. The charges of first-degree murder relate to the deaths of Honchaiyaphum, 42, and Patrick McCracken, 73, court documents say.

Police say a man was also found critically injured as they responded to reports of shootings in the remote community.

Rodnunsky, who works at the city’s post office, described his friend as a devoted mother and a talented artist.

The city has an art association where Honchaiyaphum sold his work.

“She made a lot of hair accessories, like very bright with ribbons, you know, lots of sparkles and everything,” Rodnunsky said.

Honchaiyaphum was the youngest of 10 children and grew up on a rice farm in Thailand before coming to Canada.

“If you got her talking about rice, she would have all sorts of stories,” Rodnunsky said.

Honchaiyaphum had two daughters aged 12 and 15 years.

Rodnunsky’s last conversation with her friend was on Monday when she entered the post office.

“She was totally excited because she finally got her internet connected and you know she was very happy,” she recalled.

“She had to order some things for her kids. She just seemed very animated.”

Mayor Leonard Faber, who is leaving office next week, said he knew Honchaiyaphum and McCracken.

He remembered his first encounter with McCracken when he moved to Faro about 14 years ago. McCracken was overseeing public works, and he drove past Faber’s house to introduce himself.

“He talked to everyone, do you know what I mean? Everyone knew Pat,” he said.

“If you did not know Pat, you should not go outside.”

McCracken had recently retired, he said, adding that the former city council member was one of the most knowledgeable and helpful people who had answers to almost any question.

“He was the go-to guy when you needed to know something about something.”

McCracken had an institutional knowledge of the city, he noted.

“He was still working,” Faber said.

“He always had something fun to say … He was a pleasure to be with.”

Faber said he would occasionally give Honchaiyaphum a kokanee fish that he caught. The last time he did it was this summer.

“I don’t usually keep my sea trout, but I caught about eight pounds of sea trout,” Faber said.

Honchaiyaphum said she would get a toast to it, and Faber said when he showed her the big catch: “She got a good laugh. She was a good human being.”

Faber and McCracken were also involved in the fishery.

“The fish are always bigger when you don’t show them, right?” he said, laughing.

“He would tease you, you know. It’s like the sour old things – we call each other names. Make fun of us getting old things. He will be so much missed.”

Faber said people in the town are worried about the man who was injured and Honchaiyaphum’s daughters.

“Well, the worst thing is that someone has lost their mother,” he said.

“We lost friends. A wife has lost her husband, who I do not know how I would handle such a thing. It’s just so sad, and yes, I’m a little speechless.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 29, 2021.

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