RCMP clear scene of Salt Spring murder-suicide as a community struggles with grief

RCMP clear scene of Salt Spring murder-suicide as a community struggles with grief
WatchA Salt Spring Island counsellor says the entire community is grieving after a well-known couple in their 40s was found dead Monday evening.

RCMP Major Crime investigators have now left the rural property on Salt Spring Island where a couple was found Monday evening.

RCMP officers will be continuing their investigation alongside the BC Coroners Service.

Forty-one-year-old Jennifer Quesnel was found seriously injured and her 48-year-old husband John Quesnel was found dead Monday shortly after neighbours reported hearing three gunshots ring out. Jennifer later died. 

On Tuesday RCMP held a press conference saying they were not looking for any suspects and no charges were expected.

READ MORE: Two dead after RCMP called to ‘serious incident’ on Salt Spring Island

On Wednesday, friends were remembering Jen as a lover of Arabian horses and a talented rider as well as a positive person who had a knack for making others feel special. They say she was in a great place in life and feeling positive about her future when the tragedy hit.

John Quesnel owned Salt Spring Metal recycling which had run into trouble over zoning issues and was going to be removed from the property. Friends say his wife was leaving him, and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 48-year-old had been forced to sign up for the CERB federal assistance program.

“He’s a very proud man it was a tough decision to go on the CERB,” said long-time friend Holger Hermann.

The couple was well known and well respected in the community. Salt Spring is a tight-knit place now trying to answer the question ‘why’.

“I think a little bit of disbelief, I think it’s going to take a while to sink in,” said neighbour Mickey McLeod on Tuesday.

A local counsellor says the grief and shock comes at a difficult time when people can’t physically gather to support each other as they normally would.

“Where we’re needing to social distance where we’re needing to stay apart and not hug each other I think it’s going to very difficult for some people to find the support that they need,” said Elsje Hannah, with Salt Spring Island Healing Place.

Hannah is encouraging people to reach out to family, friends, or a counsellor to talk because many were already struggling even before this happened.

“It could very well be a tipping point for some people where you know we have one thing we’re able to manage something gets piled onto that so we’re struggling but we’re still managing but a person can only take so much and this feels like a lot,” she said.

The couple had three boys, ages 12 to 16, who are now being cared for by family.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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