May 4, 2014 1:09 pm

Spruce Grove man charged with first-degree murder in wife’s death

EDMONTON – RCMP have identified a Spruce Grove woman who was found dead in an area home Saturday morning.

Officers were called to a home in the community west of Edmonton around 8 a.m.

“It was a 911 call [Saturday] morning. I don’t know who made the call, and we didn’t know what we were responding to, which is common in police work,” says Cpl. Colette Zazulak with Spruce Grove/Stony Plain RCMP.

A woman, who has since been identified as 36-year-old Rienna Nagel, was found dead inside the home.

Thirty-six-year-old Rienna Nagel.

Credit: Rienna Nagel's Facebook page

Neighbours in the area say they saw a man being taken out of the home on a stretcher just after 8 Saturday morning.

“I believe there were some injuries. I don’t know how those injuries were sustained,” adds Zazulak.

The woman’s husband, 36-year-old Christopher Ray Nagel, has now been charged with first-degree murder.

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“Typically, first-degree speaks to some degree of planning or premeditation. I don’t have the details to know if that’s the case in this instance, but first-degree murder is certainly a very serious charge,” adds Zazulak.

RCMP say the couple has five children, but Zazulak says there were no children at the home when officers responded Saturday morning.

One of the couple’s neighbours describes Rienna as an incredible mother.

“Probably a very good friend to her kids,” said Jim, who has asked that his last name not be published. “You could just tell by the camaraderie they had.”

While the cause of the woman’s death has not been released, RCMP believe a domestic violence incident led to the death. Zazulak says officers have responded to the couple’s home in the past, but adds no charges with respect to domestic violence were ever laid.

“I have no information as to the state of their marriage — whether it was intact, whether they were separated — I know none of that,” she said. “It is an intimate relationship. And so whenever it is an intimate relationship we look at domestic violence.

“Domestic violence is a very scary situation. It’s about power and control.”

Last month, a 54-year-old Edmonton woman died following an alleged case of domestic violence. Aileen “Gina” Robinson passed away in hospital two days after she was allegedly assaulted by her estranged husband in a north Edmonton home.

Fifty-eight-year-old Gilbert Paul Robinson was charged with second-degree murder in the woman’s death.

READ MORE: ‘She cared about everyone and loved her children dearly': brother of homicide victim

RCMP urge anyone who may be in an abusive relationship to reach out for help and contact police.

“If they’re involved in a domestic violence situation, we would encourage them to reach out for assistance. So whether that be to a support person, ideally talk to the police, there’s all kinds of support agencies to help people through,” Zazulak explains. “We want to be able to support them if they are leaving an abusive relationship.”

An autopsy will be conducted later this week, to determine how Rienna Nagel died.

Christopher Nagel is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

This is Spruce Grove’s first homicide of 2014.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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