North Okanagan man calling for legislation reform after murder suspect release | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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North Okanagan man calling for legislation reform after murder suspect release

Tatjana Stefansky
Image Credit: FACEBOOK

A North Okanagan man whose partner was abducted and killed is rallying for legislation reform after RCMP released the suspected killer.

RCMP released Vitali Steffan, also known as Vitali Stefanski, after his arrest near Lumby where the body of Tatjana Stefanski, 44, was discovered following reports she had been abducted.

Jason Gaudreault, Tatjana’s partner, has posted online about how he feels unsafe with Steffan out of jail.

“Vitali was released under strict conditions but after his release the first time we had an alarming event that happened at my home in Lumby so I had called the police to come and assist. After the police had left my property Vitali was apprehended a very short distance away for a second time. He was brought back to a police station and was again released. So he is still free and needless to say we are scared and have vacated my property,” Gaudreault said on social media.

READ MORE: North Okanagan murder suspect tried to return to family home after release: daughter

“I really want to speak publicly on Tatjana’s case but cannot yet. Nobody should ever have to be on the run or scared for their lives to this degree,” Gaudreault said in a post.

There is an online fundraiser on GoFundMe to raise money to support Gaudreault, and Tatjana’s children who are in his care. The GoFundMe is currently at $6,366, with local businesses raising money to support the family as well.

“The family has already had to retain legal services. Counselling, therapy, living expenses, lawyers, are only a small list of things ahead for this family. Jason has to now navigate life raising three children and jump through all the hurdles that losing Tatjana will bring. Let’s help take some of the load off of their family at this time,” the fundraiser said.

The page asks the community not just to donate money, but to write local MP and MLAs to urge them to reform “catch and release” policies for suspects of violent crimes.

READ MORE: North Okanagan family 'aren't safe' after murder suspect released

“Tatjana deserves to be remembered as the case that changes our catch and release laws forever,” he said online. “I would love to have a people against the government lawsuit against these wrong criminal bills that need changing. I want this in her memory. She deserves it. Please make a stand with me and send a wave across the nation. We need the support.”

“Things need to change like tracking devices or something could have been part or the release conditions or more security for families like us who can’t even go home because we are scared for our lives,” he said online.

To support Gaudreault click here or go to Okanagan Outpost, Jitterbeans Coffee House, or IDA’s Bakery in Lumby.

Refundable containers at Chaser’s Bottle Depot in Vernon can be donated to the family by giving the money to the account “Justice for Tatjana #326”.

The Archway Society, a former women’s transition house society, has resources available for women escaping violence. Click here or call 250-558-3850 for resources, for immediate support call 250-542-1122 at any time.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jesse Tomas or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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