Lumby, B.C. rallies support for family of woman killed in ‘foul play’ incident


A small North Okanagan community is starting to rally support for the family of Tatjana Stefanski, who died earlier this week by what RCMP described as foul play.
Okanagan Outpost in Lumby, B.C., has launched a fundraising campaign has printed out decals that read “Justice for Tatjana” and are making them available for purchase, with proceeds being directed to the family.They came up with the idea when a one of Stefanski’s family members came in in the days following her death to get their own decal printed, and expanded the gesture to include to the greater community.As of Thursday morning, stickers were being sold at a brisk pace, co-owner Tove Jensen said.The tight-knit North Okanagan community has been shaken by the woman’s untimely death and what’s followed. Story continues below advertisement

“Everybody has something to say and they’re concerned for the family and that the (suspect) is on the loose,” she said.An online fundraiser echoed the notion that there’s concern among the family, and the community at large. “As the family awaits justice, they are left feeling scared and hopeless. This man is freely walking among us in our community,” reads a GoFundMe account launched also on Thursday.

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“Tatjana is dearly missed and remembered by her children, partner Jason Gaudreault, friends, family and coworkers. This family and Tatjana’s memory deserve justice to the fullest extent of the law.”Gaudreault, according to the fundraising page, needs help dealing with this new reality.

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RCMP in Lumby searching for missing woman

“(He) has to now navigate life raising three children and jump through all the hurdles that losing Tatjana will bring,” reads the fundraiser. Story continues below advertisement

“Let’s help take some of the load off of their family at this time.”

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Gaudereault turned to Facebook in the immediate aftermath of Stefanski going missing to ask the community to keep their eyes open for any sign of her. Since that search took a tragic turn, he’s expressed grief and frustration on the social media platform.“I personally am overwhelmed with everything that is going on,” he said. “We prayed so hard and acted so fast for a positive outcome but the events are unfortunate. I am so sorry I have no words to describe what we are feeling but we are in a safe place until justice is served.”

Stefanski went missing from near her Lumby home on Saturday, and the community was alerted through social media first then RCMP in the hours that followed.That search ended when her body was discovered by RCMP on a rural road a day later.RCMP said the suspect was located in the vicinity and was taken into custody. He was later released with what police said are a list of mandatory conditions. The nature of those conditions were not revealed.While Mounties have not released the name of the suspect, on the day they announced Stefanski’s disappearance, they said they were looking for her ex husband Vitali Steffan. Story continues below advertisement

The BC Prosecution Service has said that as of yet, there is no active prosecution in relation to the Steffan.Generally, however, the BC Prosecution Service does not comment on matters that may be under investigation or charge assessment.

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