EDMONTON – It’s been two nights since RCMP officers showed up on Sheree Zielke’s doorstep to deliver news no mother ever expects to hear.
“They immediately flashed their RCMP badges, and I went ‘Oh dear God, no, this is it’…They mentioned [my daughter], and I said, ‘Don’t tell me she’s dead.
“He said, I’m sorry to tell you your daughter is dead. And her husband is being held for murder.
“I just about fell to the floor.”
Rienna Nagel, a mother of five, was found dead in her Spruce Grove home Saturday morning. Her 36-year-old husband, Christopher Nagel, has been charged with first-degree murder. He’s set to make his first court appearance on Wednesday.
“We’re bewildered, completely bewildered,” said Zielke.
She adds that her daughter was strong in her faith, as well as a dedicated mother and wife.
“Even though that might sound strange, a very dedicated wife.”
WATCH: Rienna worked as an education assistant with the Parkland School District, and had just started with the Oil City Derby Girls
She also had many other passions.
“She was doing the Spartan race, she was a personal fitness instructor, a certified kick-boxing instructor,” said her brother, Ryan Zielke. The one word he used to describe his sister was “strong.”
As the family struggles to deal with its sudden loss, and the many unanswered questions surrounding it, the main focus is now on the five children left behind.
Zielke says he’s been moved close to tears by the outpouring of support his family has been shown during this difficult time.
“I can’t even begin to describe it. Rienna’s network of friends and church family immediately, immediately stepped in,” Rienna’s mother said.
The kindness reaches far beyond Alberta. One family friend from New York set up an online fundraiser, which has raised more than $7,000 since being set up over the weekend. The money will be put in a trust fund for Rienna’s children, who are between the ages of 10 and 18.
“If we could reach out, and say to the world, ‘come be the village to help raise these kids. That’ll be her legacy'” their grandmother said, “That’s what we’d like to see.”
A celebration of life is being held for Nagel on Saturday.
With files from Quinn Ohler, Global News
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