Six months after the death of Samantha Higgins, her family is struggling to move forward.

“It’s just not the same without her here anymore,” said Vanessa Higgins, Samantha’s mother. “We just did our first Christmas and New Year’s without her and it was really hard. It’s going to be like that forever and I’m still having a bit of trouble grasping that.”

Higgins went missing in July and her dismembered body was found a week later near the U.S. border. Days later, her fiancé Nicholas Fontanelli was charged with first degree murder.

Fontanelli’s first lawyer was removed because he once represented the accused’s half-sister, a key Crown witness. He has yet to find another lawyer and at his most recent court date in December, he asked for more time.

His next court date is Feb. 8.

Higgins says the process has been frustrating.

“We’re trying to move on,” she said. “It’s just hard to move on when nothing’s moving.”

Delays in criminal proceedings are often hard on families but are not uncommon said Jenny Charest, Executive Director of the Centre D’Aide Aux Victimes D’Actes Criminels, which helps families who have been affected by crime.

“We accompany families and we try to be there for them to explain to them why it takes so long, because when you get the information, at least you know why.”