Surrey man murdered in Madagascar remembered as ‘a magnet’ for his family

B.C. man murdered in Madagascar
WATCH: B.C. man murdered in Madagascar

When Steven Yasinsky decided to take up consulting work in Madagascar, he did it out of love for his family.

Despite retiring in 2017 after a 22-year career as a mechanic with the City of Burnaby, new work at a graphite mine overseas was an opportunity to save up for a bigger property in Penticton.

The dream was to build a family hub for his children and grandchildren.

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“He was almost like a magnet for everybody and the family to come to,” his daughter Stephanie told Global News from her parents’ Surrey home.

“It’s just unfortunate losing someone that special and that amazing.”

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Yasinsky was killed in broad daylight on Feb. 1 in the Vatomandry region of Madagascar. His family was told the 58-year-old was surveying a remote area when he was attacked.

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His family says he sustained fatal knife wounds to his throat and the back of his head, the result of an alleged brutal robbery for his motorbike.

Media reports in Madagascar say a group of men in their 20s have been arrested. Items found at the arrest scene include the weapons used in the attack, keys to Yasinsky’s motorbike, which was found in a ravine, and his mobile phones.

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“We’re still in shock,” said daughter-in-law Farzana Oxley. “He was such an amazing person and it’s very sad that he’s gone.”

Global Affairs Canada confirmed the death of a Canadian national on the island.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the Canadian citizen who died in Madagascar. Consular services are being provided to the family.”

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Yasinsky’s family calls the death completely senseless and says he would have voluntarily handed over the items if approached.

“To have something as violent as that, I’m still finding it hard to believe,” said Stephanie Vasinsky. “My dad didn’t deserve that. My dad was an amazing man.”

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She described her father as a jack-of-all-trades who could fix anything and would help anyone.

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The avid traveller, camper and fisherman had been to Madagascar two times before and did not believe it was an unsafe country.

He had started this last trip in November 2018 and was planning on flying back in March to celebrate his 59th birthday with family. During his time away, he always called his wife three times a day.

Yasinsky’s family says they will be following the criminal case in Madagascar in hopes of getting both justice and closure.

For now, the hardest adjustment is not being able to pick up the phone and call the one person who could fix anything, including a broken heart.