People in St. Mary's First Nation near Fredericton are mourning the loss of Rowena Sharpe, after the 38-year-old woman was found dead in her home on Tuesday.

Sharpe's body was found in her home early Tuesday morning along with the body of her estranged husband, Kevin Glenn Sharpe, 45.

The couple had recently separated and people in the community were aware of the couple's troubles.

Starla Paul said many people in St. Mary's suspect it was a murder-suicide.

Paul said her niece went to the local daycare where Rowena Sharpe worked.

"All the kids loved her on our reserve. She was very well liked and loved," Paul said.

"We all knew though, she has been having problems with Sharpie for a long time. So it has been going on for a while."

Three of the couple's four children were in the Paul Street home at the time — two boys, aged five and 13, and a 14-year-old girl. They fled to the neighbours.

The children were not physically hurt.

Const. Rick Mooney said on Tuesday that resources have been put in place "to ensure that both their physical and emotional well-being is looked after."

Rebuilding life

Police were called to the home on Paul Street about a domestic violence situation at 4 a.m.

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Rowena Sharp was trying to rebuild her life.

Rowena Sharpe was trying to rebuild her life after ending an abusive relationship, her friends say.

Members of the reserve gathered around a sacred fire Wednesday to pray, to grieve and to begin the process of healing.

"I would say our community is still in shock, and the majority of them are still hurting," Jenine Paul, a child protection officer with St. Mary’s, said Wednesday.

She said it’s difficult for native women to leave abusive relationships because many don’t have the resources. There is only one transition house for native women in the province.

"The main important thing for First Nations women is if you’re in this situation tell somebody, talk to them, get help," Paul said.

Sharpe had tried to do that. She had kicked her husband out of the family home and had started an exercise regime. Her Facebook page was filled with talk about beginning a new life.

Sherry Parsons, community health co-ordinator, said Sharpe was "so proud of herself, you know, her and her friends doing their daily walks and being healthy."

"She was starting to start her life over and all this happened. So it’s really tragic."