British Columbia

Police acknowledge domestic violence link in murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

B.C. Mounties are acknowledging that intimate partner violence was a factor in the murder of a Salt Spring Island woman last week.

Family says Jennifer Quesnel, 41, was shot dead by her estranged abusive husband

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

B.C. Mounties are acknowledging that intimate partner violence was a factor in the murder of a Salt Spring Island woman last week.

But the RCMP say they'd received no previous reports of violence before Jennifer Quesnel was killed by her estranged husband on June 1, contradicting claims from her family.

Quesnel, 41, was found fatally injured last week at a home on the B.C. Gulf Island. Her husband, 48-year-old John Quesnel, was lying dead nearby.

Police are investigating the incident as a murder-suicide but have released few other details.

"There remains a lot of work on this investigation that cannot yet be disclosed to the public" RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Chris Manseau wrote in an email to CBC. 

"There may come a time when further information could come forward, but for the integrity of this investigation there will be no further updates."

The BC Coroners Service is also investigating.

Family says victim was ambushed

According to Jennifer Quesnel's family, she had recently left her husband after 18 years of marriage marked by his "controlling and abusive behaviour."

Quesnel had been staying with her brother, but on the day of her murder, she made a trip to the family home to grab some belongings and visit her horse. Her family alleges she spoke with RCMP about arranging a police escort during the visit but later decided against it.

The family says Quesnel only returned to the home on the understanding that her estranged husband would not be present, but he hid himself in a secluded area and shot her twice when she arrived at the property. He then turned the gun on himself.

Quesnel had three sons and her family has described her as  "the most beautiful person you would ever meet."

"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 said in a statement to media last week.

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