Ex-husband arrested for murder of woman that rocked small B.C. town

Ex-husband arrested for murder of woman that rocked small B.C. town
Jason Gaudreault, whose partner Tatjana Stefanski was found dead on April 14 after disappearing a day earlier, shows a photograph of her on his phone, in Lumby, B.C., on Monday, May 13, 2024.

RCMP says a man has been arrested following the death of Tatjana Stefanski, whose initial disappearance shocked the quiet village of Lumby, B.C. in April.

Stefanski’s ex-husband, Vitali Stefanski, was arrested on Friday and was charged with second-degree murder.

Tatjana, 44, was last seen on April 13 entering a car with her ex-husband. Her body was found the next day in a rural location near Lumby, which is located in the North Okanagan.

Her disappearance and murder cast a pall over the community, and the woman’s current partner and children said they feared for their safety. Although a man was arrested near where Tatjana’s body was found in April, he was released soon after on conditions.

After that, the family moved from location to location, concerned that whoever killed her would come to their home.

“Things need to be changed,” said Tatjana’s partner of four years, Jason Gaudreault, to the Canadian Press. “We’re never going to feel safe until we know that he’s behind bars.”

On Friday, RCMP said Vitali was being held in custody until his next court date.

“Although this investigation to date has had its many challenges, the recent charges brought against Mr Stefanski are the result of the tireless investigative work done by the members of the SED MCU and Vernon RCMP Detachment,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Smart, NCO i/c BC RCMP SED MCU.

Handling of the case has come under scrutiny, with the B.C. police watchdog investigating how the RCMP dealt with alleged threats against Tatjana Stefanski four months before she disappeared.

Gaudreault had previously said that the couple went to police last December about “extreme” threats sent to Stefanski’s father in Germany, threatening to “chop her up” and “send her back in a body bag.”


With files from The Canadian Press

Adam ChanAdam Chan

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