British Columbia

Abusive husband 'ambushed' Salt Spring Island woman in suspected murder-suicide, family says

The family of a mother of three killed in a suspected murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island this week says she was ambushed and shot by her abusive estranged husband.

Jennifer Quesnel's family has issued a statement to end speculation about her death

Jennifer Quesnel, 41, was a mother of three boys killed in a suspected murder-suicide. (Facebook/Jennifer Quesnel)

The family of a mother of three killed in a suspected murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island this week says she was ambushed and shot by her abusive estranged husband.

Jennifer Quesnel, 41, was found fatally injured on Monday at a home on the B.C. Gulf Island. Her husband, 48-year-old John Quesnel, was found dead at the same home.

In a written statement distributed to the media on Friday, Jennifer Quesnel's family described her as "a gentle and loving mother, friend, daughter and sister to everyone who knew her," and laid out what they know about her death. 

"Jennifer was taken from us and her three boys during a time of renewed hope and possibilities and was excited for what her future held," Quesnel's family said in the statement.

"She had been staying with her brother Glenn after leaving an 18 year marriage with a clear history of controlling and abusive behaviour by her husband John Quesnel. She had finally made the choice to leave and it was the happiest she had ever been, being away from him."

According to the family, Quesnel had returned to the family home to grab some belongings and visit her horse, on the understanding that her husband would not be on the property at that time.

"Unknown to Jennifer, John had parked in a secluded area nearby and hid himself from view, armed. He ambushed her without warning, shooting her twice and then turning the gun on himself," the family alleges in their statement.

'A selfish act by a coward'

RCMP are treating the incident as a murder-suicide. The family says another person was present at the time of the attack, but out of respect for her privacy, they are not releasing details about her identity.

Quesnel's family say they decided to reveal what they know because rumours are circulating and they want the public to know the truth.

"He couldn't stand to see her happy and if he couldn't be happy, neither could she. It was a selfish act by a coward and bully and committed in the most cruel and premeditated way," the family statement says.

Quesnel's family says she was "the most beautiful person you would ever meet" and was full of life.

"We're so thankful that she had that time away from him, to realize what life could be like and to see her that happy," their statement reads.

Friends and family are now raising money for a trust fund to support Quesnel's sons.

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