Canada ‘Heartbreaking’: Two Edmonton women killed in apparent domestic attacks in three weeks

07:35  09 may  2018
07:35  09 may  2018 Source:   edmontonjournal.com

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050718-Weapons_complaint© David Bloom 050718-Weapons_complaint

Two women have died in apparent domestic killings in Edmonton in the span of three weeks, alarming the leader of a local women’s shelter.

“It’s heartbreaking really,” said Patricia Garrett, executive director of the Wings of Providence women’s shelter.

“It makes me feel very sad, and it tells me there’s still a lot of work to do to end violence against women. There are resources out there, we’ve just got to encourage people to reach out and talk about it with other people.”

A domestic call turned deadly Monday afternoon when a 33-year-old woman was attacked at a southeast Edmonton home before her estranged partner was arrested, say police.

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Officers found the woman dead after responding to a weapons call at an apartment suite in the Strathearn Heights complex near 96 Avenue and 87 Street at about 3:40 p.m. Monday. A 41-year-old man was arrested.

Homicide detectives have taken over the investigation and are now “investigating the death as a domestic violence incident,” said police spokesman Scott Pattison in a Tuesday news release.

“The suspect and deceased were known to one another, and have been estranged for several years.”

Charges are pending and an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday. Police are not releasing the name of the dead woman.

Residents in the area said they heard screaming before police and an ambulance arrived. Around 11 a.m. Tuesday, two marked police cruisers were parked at the rear of the home and a blue tarp had been strung across the property’s rear entrance.

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If the Wednesday autopsy confirms the death is a homicide, it will be the city’s 11th of 2018 and the second woman to be killed in the past three weeks.

On April 23, police responded to a weapons complaint at a single-family home near 78 Street and 143 Avenue at around 1:50 p.m.

Officers had received a report that a man had broken into the home. Neighbours reported hearing a gunshot. Ambulance crews arrived and rushed the victim, Brittany Vande Lagemaat, to hospital where the 25-year-old died of her injuries.

Kenneth Richards, 35, was arrested several days later and charged with a string of offences including second-degree murder, housebreaking with intent and weapons offences. Richards has the name “Brittany” tattooed on his left forearm, police said in an earlier news release.

Leah McRorie said Vande Lagemaat, who was her niece by marriage, was a mother of three and that Richards was the father.

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She hadn’t seen Vande Lagemaat in almost a decade but remembered her as a little girl with “a lot of hopes and dreams” who comes from a family who loves her.

There are still questions about that will happen with her children, the oldest of whom has just started school.

“These children have now been left without a mom,” McRorie said. “It’s just a horrific situation.”

Garrett said domestic violence in Alberta has risen in recent years. Women’s shelters offer housing for women fleeing domestic violence as well as safety planning for women seeking to keep away from an estranged partner, she said.

jwakefield@postmedia.com

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