The Stittsville man who severely beat his wife with a baseball bat and then took his own life was mentally ill and had "no control over his thoughts and actions" say members of his family.

Theresa Lefebvre is in critical condition in a medically-induced coma in hospital.

Police had found her badly beaten after responding Wednesday to a call about a domestic dispute at 9:30 a.m. at 64 Hartsmere Drive. 

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Theresa and Peter Lefebvre had been in the process of a separating after being married for more than 20 years. (Facebook)

Her husband Peter Lefebvre's body was found Wednesday afternoon in the Stony Swamp Conservation area after an intensive police search.

A source told CBC News Lefebvre was beaten with a baseball bat, and that a man had called 911 to say he had killed his wife.

A police source told CBC News the major crimes unit is now investigating the case because of the seriousness of the crime.

Neighbours, family say couple was separating

Neighbours had said the couple, who have two teen boys, were going through a separation, and some who had spoken to Peter Lefebvre said he talked about battling depression.

But his family refutes reports that Peter Lefebvre had abused his wife.

Connie Lefebvre, the wife of Peter's older brother, said on Friday her brother-in-law had been suffering from anxiety and severe depression for the past four years.

"He was devoted to his family, to his community, He didn't beat his wife and then come home one day and decide to kill her. That is the furthest from the truth," said Connie Lefebvre.

"(Peter) suffered from mental illness and I think his illness was so out of control."

Connie Lefebvre said the couple had decided to divorce just after Christmas, but were still living in the same home.

In a statement issued Thursday, his family said the couple was happily married for more than 20 years and that it was only in the last few years that they had marital difficulties.

"The Lefebvre family does not condone domestic violence on any level; this was not a domestic violence situation — the unfortunate violence that occurred was because this was a man with a mental illness who had no control over his thoughts and actions which resulted in a tragic situation," the statement read.

Peter Lefebvre’s Family Statement

Following the reports that have been recently written and broadcasted on Thursday, April 12, the Lefebvre family feels compelled to share information about Peter.

First and foremost, Peter was a loving and compassionate father to his two sons and was dedicated to being involved in their activities whether it was hockey, soccer, basketball or piano and who also was dedicated and loving to his wife Theresa.

Peter and Theresa were happily married for more than 20 years. Unfortunately, during the last few years, they had marital difficulties. Like all partnerships, there were ups and downs, most recently Theresa asking for a divorce because she no longer loved him NOT because he abused her. Peter took the news of his marriage ending extremely hard and wanted to do whatever he could to save it and keep his family in tact.

The realization that the family staying together was not to be, sent Peter into a severe depression causing him to take time off work and to seek hospitalization to assist him in dealing with this mental state. Peter did not verbally or physically abuse Theresa during their marriage. Peter was a good man. The focus in the media is that Peter was an aggressive abuser, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Peter was mentally ill. What happened on the morning of Wednesday, April 11th was tragic. We lost our brother and now await news on our sister-in-law as she clings to life.

The Lefebvre family does not condone domestic violence on any level; this was not a domestic violence situation – the unfortunate violence that occurred was because this was a man with a mental illness who had no control over his thoughts and actions which resulted in a tragic situation.

Rest in Peace Peter