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Tragic End for Missing Woman in Lumby as RCMP Suspects Foul Play

UPDATE 4:29 p.m.

The Vernon North Okanagan RCMP have confirmed the tragic outcome of the missing person case from Lumby, reporting that 44-year-old Tatjana Stefanski, who was reported missing on April 13, has been found deceased. Due to suspicions of criminal involvement in her death, the case has now been escalated to the RCMP Southeast District Major Crimes Unit.

Constable Chris Terleski expressed the police’s deep condolences, stating, “The Vernon North Okanagan RCMP offer our sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to the woman’s family and friends during this incredibly difficult time.” No further details have been released as of now.

ORIGINAL 12:47 p.m.

Amid rising public concern on social media regarding the handling of suspects in serious crimes, the RCMP has addressed the challenges in laying criminal charges. This comes after the discovery of a woman’s remains in rural Lumby on April 14, during an investigation into the reported abduction of Tatjana Stefanski. Though not officially identified by the police, Stefanski’s daughter confirmed her mother’s demise on Facebook shortly after the initial police statement.

Given the suspicious circumstances of the death, the case is under thorough investigation by major crimes detectives. A man, believed to be connected to Stefanski’s death, was arrested on April 14 but released the following day with conditions.

Staff Sgt. Kris Clark commented on the ongoing investigation, “Suspicious death investigations are complex and require time to gather all pertinent evidence and submit a Report to Crown Counsel (RCC).”

Damienne Darby of BC Prosecution Services noted that delays in such cases are standard, stating, “This is very normal in homicide cases.”

Despite the public’s urgency for justice, police procedural constraints mean suspects can only be held for 24 hours without charges. To date, no charges have been filed in this case.

Community Rallies Support for Tatjana Stefanski’s Family

In the wake of this tragedy, the community has shown overwhelming support for Stefanski’s family. A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to aid Stefanski’s partner, Jason Gaudreault, and their children during this challenging time.

Gaudreault shared his gratitude on Facebook, “Thank you to those friends for your direct involvement in helping with continued support and taking a lot of pressure off of me.”

He also voiced a need for changes in the justice system, “We need changes in our justice system or laws changed. I have personally been trying to get in contact with area MP leaders to share this story. We need this out to get things changed.”

The family’s GoFundMe page also highlighted their plight, “The suspect was located at the vicinity and was taken into custody. He was later released from custody with a list of mandatory conditions. As the family awaits justice, they are left feeling scared and hopeless. This man is freely walking among us in our community.”

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Susan H Delaney

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