Family of Taylor Toller, allegedly killed by boyfriend, says she was 'admired and loved'
Dustin Duthie is accused of killing his girlfriend, his mother and stepfather
The family of Taylor Toller, one of three people found slain on Tuesday in Calgary, says she was "a kind and beautiful soul who touched many lives."
Toller's boyfriend, Dustin Duthie, 25, has been charged with second-degree murder in her death, and is also accused of killing his mother and stepfather. All three bodies were found on Tuesday at two separate locations. Cause of death has not been made public.
The body of 24-year-old Toller was found at a condo complex in Applewood Park in the city's southeast late Tuesday morning when police responded to a welfare check call.
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The bodies of Shawn Boshuck, 52, and Alan Pennylegion, 51, Duthie's mother and stepfather, were found at a house in Hidden Valley in northwest Calgary.
Duthie was arrested near the condo complex in Applewood Park and has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder. Sources told CBC News that the call to police was made by Duthie.
Family appreciates support
"The family of Taylor Toller appreciate the thoughtful expressions of love and support from her friends and loved ones across Calgary and Alberta," said a statement released Thursday.
"She was admired and loved by her siblings, her parents, grandparents and extended family. She had a core group of very supportive friends with whom she was determined to make significant and positive contributions to her community.
"Taylor will continue on in our memory and we will continue her efforts towards community building in her name."
The family also thanked Calgary police for their compassion and offered their condolences to the families of Boshuck and Pennylegion. They asked for privacy to grieve and make memorial arrangements.
Police believe Pennylegion and Boshuck died from an assault early Tuesday morning.
Toller is believed to have been killed sometime between July 26 and July 31, but likely in the early hours of July 26, police said.
Investigators are looking to speak to anyone who may have spoken to Toller during that time frame.
Cole Widdifield has been friends with Toller since the pair was in junior high. He describes Toller and Duthie's relationship as a "negative environment."
"They were never good interactions. I was either picking her up because they were in an argument or a fight, or she didn't want to be there," Widdifield said.
He said he had to leave work when he heard the news about his childhood friend.
"Your heart drops in your stomach."
He wants people to remember what a sweet person she was.
"How good of a girl she is and that her life was really starting to turn around… it's really unfortunate that bad things have to happen to nice people," Widdifield said.
Pennylegion worked as a business development representative for Keurig Canada. The company issued a statement expressing its sadness and remembered Pennylegion as "tenacious, successful and dedicated."
Pennylegion was also a volunteer coach with the junior football Calgary Hilltoppers Football Association, where the president remembered him as a great mentor to the young players.
Pennylegion's sister, Andrea Christmas, said the family is heartbroken and shocked.
"He was extremely intelligent, very good looking and everybody liked him," Christmas said.
Boshuck was a well-respected nurse in the Calgary community, friends say.
Jenni Jerke and Sarah Keller say they're leaning on each other as they deal with the loss of their close friend Boshuck.
Jerke described Boshuck and Pennylegion as the perfect couple.
"They liked getting together. Al played in a band. He would do rehearsals weekly, so we used to kind of plan our get-togethers around that, but yeah, they were a great couple," she said.
Keller said she and Jerke have reached out to the couple's children to make sure they're taken care of.
The couple each had two children from previous relationships and one son together who is now in his teens.
Family friend Shane Graham spoke to media Thursday, accompanied by two of Boshuck and Pennylegion's children, David and Adam.
"The family has been torn apart," Graham said. "This is nothing short of a tragedy that has ripple effects."
Family members have started an online fundraiser to support the couple's children.
Duthie on suicide watch
Duthie is being held at the Rockyview General Hospital and is under a suicide watch, CBC News has learned.
His next court date is set for Aug. 8. He will see a forensic psychologist before that appearance to determine whether a 30-day psychological assessment should be carried out.
Police said the victims' causes of death will not be released out of respect for the families and as the matter is before the courts.
Investigators are still awaiting autopsy results.
Calgary police Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetti said the case has been devastating for both family and first responders.
"This file, the scenes, have certainly taken a toll on our investigators processing it. As you can imagine this was a very traumatic incident," Schiavetti told media Thursday.
The exact motive is not yet known, police said, but the killings are considered to have stemmed from a domestic dispute due to the relationship between the victims and accused.
There have been 10 homicides in Calgary so far this year.
With files from Dave Will
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