PENTICTON - There are no pieces to pick up for the family of a murdered Penticton woman because all she possessed was inside the home of the man who was convicted of killing her, and access was denied.
When Lynn Kalmring was murdered by her common-law spouse Keith Wiens, her family didn't just lose a member, but anything tangible they may have wanted for sentimental reasons or other.
"Our system protects the wrong people," Kalmring's sister, Donna Irwin says.
In the days immediately after Kalmring was murdered, when Irwin tried to remove her sister's belongings from her sister's home, she was turned away. Irwin learned from Wiens' lawyer that Kalmring's name wasn't on the home's title. Her sister had moved into a seniors village with Wiens but couldn't sign for part-ownership because she was under 55 years of age at the time. Everything left of Kalmring was behind a locked door that only Wiens could open.
Even today, though the ex-cop was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for shooting his spouse on Aug. 16, 2011 at their Penticton home he has the right to bar entry.
"That's Lynn's home. She did all the housework and the gardening," Irwin says.
The family eventually received some of Kalmring's clothes, but nothing else. They were stuffed into garbage bags and dumped on a relative's property.
"He (Wiens) has somebody on the outside doing the dirty work for him," Irwin says. "The house has been basically cleaned out."
She says her niece visited the house two weeks ago to leave flowers and could see empty rooms through the windows. Irwin had better luck getting permission to Wien's and Kalmring's Arizona home but hasn't been able to travel there yet. She wonders if there is anything left.
Irwin continues to look for ways to take control of her sister's affairs, recently becoming administrator of her estate. As a result, Wiens is prevented from selling either home without Irwin's permission.
Irwin says she and her family want more rights for the victims of crime and have started a petition, enlisting MP Dan Albas in their fight to change the rules. Right now the goal is to alter parole hearings and create stricter bail conditions.
When Wiens was on bail he broke his conditions Irwin says. His brother was supposed to watch him at Wiens' home but his brother had to leave. This left Wiens by himself, which was a violation of the bail rules. He was later arrested for this crime and has been in custody ever since.
"We just want the victims to have more rights than the criminals," Irwin says. "My sister was a good, kind, loving woman. For someone to take her life so violently, all Canadians are at risk."
To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at email@example.com, call 250-488-3065, tweet @shannonquesnel1 or @InfoNewsPentict