North Okanagan murder suspect tried to return to family home after release: daughter | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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

Tatjana Stefanski is pictured with her children on the left; Gaudreault and Stefanski in a photo on the right.
Image Credit: Facebook/Jason Gaudreault

Family of North Okanagan woman Tatjana Stefanski, who was found dead yesterday and presumed murdered, say they are dealing with grief, but also some fear and anger.

In a social media post, her husband, Jason Gaudreault, said he and Stefanski’s two children are trying to process all that has happened in the last three days.

“I personally am overwhelmed with everything that is going on,” he said. “We prayed so hard and acted so fast for a positive outcome but the events are unfortunate. I am so sorry I have no words to describe what we are feeling but we are in a safe place until justice is served.”

Stefanski, 44, was found dead yesterday, April 15, after an altercation with her ex-husband Vitali Steffan. On Sunday, North Okanagan RCMP reported that she was missing and last seen getting into a vehicle with Steffan, but Gaudreault quickly informed everyone she was actually forced into the car and was abducted.

Her body was found near Lumby on Mabel Lake Road. Police said they arrested a man found near the scene, but didn’t name anyone.

Then they released him.

“Vitali has been left to go free, he has been released from custody which is absolutely disgusting,” Stefanski’s daughter Selina said in a social media post. “Shortly after being released, he was seen 600m from our home and had been walking towards our property. He was picked up and brought back into Vernon by police and then released once again after that. Hope the justice system will figure itself out because I am at a loss for words, we are not safe as a family or as a community with him free.”

Family and friends have asked for peace and patience at this time, but make it clear she was loved.

“She was an amazing mother and I would never want anyone else to replace her,” Selina wrote.  “My only wish is to be able to talk to her one more time.”

The Archway Society, formerly woman’s transition house society, wants to remind everyone that help is available for women escaping violence. Resources and support are available. Find them at or call 250-558-3850. If you are in crisis and need immediate support call 250-542-1122 at any time.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones or call 250-718-2724 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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