'No ill will': Dead woman's family blames 'hideous illness,' defends husband | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'No ill will': Dead woman's family blames 'hideous illness,' defends husband

Siegfried van Zuiden, right, and his wife Audrey pose in this undated handout photo. Siblings of a Calgary senior found dead last month say a hideous illness, and not her husband of 56 years, is to blame for her death.
November 15, 2016 - 7:00 AM

CALGARY - Siblings of a senior found dead in her home last month say a hideous illness, and not her husband of 56 years, is to blame.

Audrey van Zuiden, 80, was found Oct. 4 in the Calgary home she shared with Fred van Zuiden, who is charged with second-degree murder.

Loved ones say the husband has long suffered from dementia, and a psychiatrist told a courtroom last month he agrees that's likely to be the case.

The woman's brother, Victor Brent, and sister, Josephine Tucker, issued a written statement as friends and family held a celebration of life for her in Calgary on Monday.

The siblings, who live in the United Kingdom, say they are naturally saddened by their sister's death.

"However, we fully appreciate that this was wholly a consequence of a hideous illness."

They added that the van Zuidens enjoyed a long, fruitful and happy marriage and were a devoted and inseparable couple.

"We enjoyed a Skype call with Audrey a few days prior to the accident and she was her ever exuberant and enthusiastic self," they wrote.

"None of her family bears any ill feeling towards Fred. We accept that it was a tragic accident, the sad consequence of a little understood condition."

In addition to mourning their sister, Brent and Tucker say their thoughts are on her husband's future well-being.

The accused is undergoing psychiatric testing and is next due in court Dec. 2.

After his last court appearance, close family friends said they have been able to visit him at the facility where he is being held and he does not seem to understand his wife is gone.

Fred van Zuiden, 85, was born in the Netherlands to a Jewish family. During the Second World War he evaded the Nazis by hiding in several Dutch families' homes. He recounted his harrowing experiences in his book "Call Me Mom: A Dutch Boy's WW II Survival Story."

He immigrated to Canada in 1952 and settled with his wife in Calgary, where he founded a sailboat business.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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