The mother and sister of 36-year-old Billy Bradshaw say he was one of two victims murdered in Saanich’s double homicide last week, and are remembering him as both the smiling, sweet boy he grew up as, and the man who struggled his whole life with opiate addiction and incarceration.
“He was caring and compassionate, just the typical little boy that was just a sweetheart,” said Kathy Zirri, Billy’s mother. “He was just a happy boy. Always smiling, up until troubles started.”
Zirri believes the root of Billy’s struggles started when she left her husband and lost custody of Billy when he was only four years old.
“I know it really bothered him because he was a real momma’s boy. He always wanted to be with me,” Zirri said, remembering through tears.
“That’s where I believe a lot of his anger and hurt came from. Coming from a separation between mom and dad.”
When Billy was nine years old, Zirri got custody back – but it wasn’t long until the pre-teen started acting out.
“Drugs and getting into crime. He spent a lot of time in jail,” said Zirri.
“I think since the age of 17 he maybe spent at most a year out, then he’d be back in. I feel like I didn’t know him since we were children,” said his sister Jillian Bradshaw, also through tears.
According to his family, Billy was last incarcerated 7 years ago. It was the longest stretch in his life he’d stayed out of jail. His family even says he was on his way to moving back home and getting clean from his opiate use.
“I just always thought he’d join me in sobriety and I believe he was coming right behind me. It’s just a shame that that got taken away from him,” said Jillian.
Billy’s family says he was the second person murdered in Saanich’s double homicide last week. Saanich police have not released any details relating to the second victim.
Last week, family identified Stephanie Carmen Jade Elk as the first victim in the double homicide. Her boyfriend Christopher Cathcart has been charged with second-degree murder in her homicide. Charges in Billy’s homicide have not yet been laid.
His family is now planning his homecoming, albeit in a way they’d never expected.
“A lot of prayers went out for him. He’s at peace,” said Zirri. “He’s finally free,” said Jillian.
Billy Bradshaw leaves behind his girlfriend Krystle and a big loving family. His body will be brought back to Rocky Mountain House in Alberta where he will rest.