March 05, 2013 - 5:14 PM
"I WANT TO BLOCK IT OUT"
A family member of two Vernon children who lost both their parents in a murder-suicide is struggling to make sense of it all, and she's not alone.
Police confirmed today that Vernon resident Gregory Neifer, 30, shot himself after killing his wife Sheena, 29, while their two kids slept in the other room.
Two days after the bodies were discovered in a Hartnell Road home in the BX neighbourhoud northeast of the City of Vernon, the family member—who asked for anonymity—said she worries for the two boys—both under age 10— and wonders what will happen to them.
"I can't believe it. The children are so young, it's such a tragedy for them," she told InfoTel News. "I still don't understand what happened, I want to block it out."
Choking on tears, she could not have expected this. She joins RCMP investigators, the B.C. Coroners service and the community at large in struggling with the news.
RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk says the children did not witness the act and were unharmed when officers arrived on scene. They, and the mother of one of the victims, were escorted from the house as officers from the South East District Major Crimes Unit poured into the home. The kids grew up with a small marijuana grow-operation on the property. RCMP believe it belonged to Gregory Neifer. Molendyk says the marijuana appeared to be grown for medicinal purposes, and adds that drugs were not directly connected to the deaths.
Bev Rundell, superintendent of School District 22, says local schools have dealt with tragic circumstances but not like this. Schools have supports in place for all situations.
"Unfortunately we've had children whose family members have died in car accidents, or have had cancer," Rundell says.
The school district has counsellors available in all its schools to support those impacted by a death. Not only do they help those directly affected, but also those children who hear about the situation and are troubled by it.
"It's a very sensitive issue, every situation is different, it depends on age," Rundell says. "Our crisis response team might be called in for students, and possibly staff."
Rundell says her question, more than anything, is how the school district can best support everyone affected. "And we have to honour what the family wants us to do," Rundell says.
It's possible the Neifer boys won't be returning to school district 22. They may move in with out of town family. But if they do come back, Rundell says the school will be there for them.
RCMP and the B.C. Coroners are continuing their investigation into the deaths.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)309-5230.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013