EDMONTON — Residents of the northeast Edmonton neighbourhood where a 42-year-old woman was killed Friday night said they never expected something like this to happen in their own backyard.
“When I saw all this happening it was freaking me out,” said Jeffrey Monkman, who has lived in the Newton neighbourhood for four years. “When this happens it gets scary.”
Police were called to a home in the area of 119 Avenue and 56 Street just after 11 p.m. Friday.
Officers found a 42-year-old woman suffering from stab wounds. She was rushed to hospital where she died of her injuries.
Over the weekend, police identified the victim as Jennifer Otway. Her husband, 38-year-old Jason Andrew Otway, was charged with second-degree murder and possession of an offensive weapon.
The couple has two young children who police said were inside the home, but they were physically unharmed.
Monkman said his niece often plays outside with the children and described them as a quiet couple, although he said Jason had a bit of a temper.
“I’ve always talked to them every day outside,” said Monkman. “She was friendly… caring, loving mother to the kids.”
One of the children attends an Catholic elementary school in the city. Edmonton Catholic Schools spokesperson Lori Nagy said counsellors were brought into the school on Monday to speak with students and staff about the incident.
“This is such a tragic circumstance,” said Nagy. “It’s hit that school community very hard because this is a family that has been in that school for quite a while, and these are parents that staff knew and of course even some of the children knew.”
Nagy said some of the child’s peers are making cards as a way to know she’s missed.
“Hopefully the sympathy cards for the student involved will be of some comfort,” she said. “We really are hoping that the student will be able to come back soon.”
While speaking with the media Monday morning, Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht said domestic violence is on the rise in the city. The number of female homicide victims is also on the rise, Knecht said.
“Domestic violence is kind of a peculiar crime because it happens behind closed doors,” said Knecht.
Knecht urges residents to phone police if they sense any trouble.
“Sometimes making that call can save a life; it can certainly change a life.”
According to Statistics Canada, 68 people were killed by their partners in 2014. Most of the victims were women.
Here are some resources for those in need:
Canadian Mental Health Association
Child Welfare League of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada, Family Violence Prevention Team, Centre for Health Promotion & Family Violence Initiative
Neighbours Friends & Families