‘Vigil for Tatjana’: Memory of homicide victim in Lumby, B.C. to be honoured Friday

Click to play video: 'Lumby residents to remember slain woman'
Lumby residents to remember slain woman
It's been just over a week now since the body of Tatjana Stefanski was found in the North Okanagan and the prime suspect continues walking free. The community is banding together to fight for justice for the 44-year-old mother and as Klaudia Van Emmerik reports, calling on changes to so-called catch-and-release laws. – Apr 22, 2024

Tatjana Stefanski’s community will gather in Lumby Friday night to honour her memory and advocate for changes in how suspects of violent crimes are handled before charges are laid.

Stefanski, whose remains were found April 14 near Mable Lake Road a day after her ex-husband allegedly abducted her, will be remembered at a 7 p.m. vigil at Lumby’s Oval Park. Before that, lanterns will be made at the Lumby Christian Church from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Click to play video: 'Woman’s body found near Mabel Lake Provincial Park'
Woman’s body found near Mabel Lake Provincial Park

“I think it’s massive for the community,” Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton said.

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“It’s a chance for the community to get together, talk, express their feelings, and show support for the family as well and, of course, the end of a very beautiful life way too early.”

Acton has requested that police be present and visible throughout the event, which is expected to be a consolation to those who attend.

While the suspect in Stefanski’s killing was arrested near where her body was discovered on the day she was found, police said in a subsequent press release that he was released shortly after on a series of conditions.

He was reportedly seen days later near Stefanski’s home, where her children and partner Jason Gaudreault still lived.

The family, in turn, went into hiding, raising community concerns.

“We know RCMP are doing their best with the investigation,” reads a description of the vigil from organizers.

“We know the Crown and the judge follow Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and we are aware they protect. But it’s challenging to understand why victims of intimate partner violence and their families feel unprotected as we all do when any crime happens to us or near us.”

The RCMP said in a statement issued last week, the threshold for charge approval is not insignificant, and that police do not have the authority to hold someone indefinitely until the investigation is complete.

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“Suspicious death investigations are complex and can take time,” Cpl. James Grandy said.

In the meantime, the community is hoping for some healing from the event.  The color teal blue is recommended to wear for those in the meeting as that was Tatjana’s favorite color.



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