Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dad shoots and kills mom, 2-year-old son (St. Walburg, Saskatchewan, Canada)

This article is really mealy-mouthed in the way it disguises criminal agency by using the passive verb tense. We talk about everybody dying in an "apparent" murder-suicide without coming out and saying that the father murdered his wife and their two-year-old son. It's like saying the victim just showed up in the gutter with a knife in his back. Ridiculous. Somebody PUT that knife there. Just like somebody KILLED this mother and child. And we all know with virtual certainty that it was dad DARREN WOURMS since the authorities suspect no outsider. Why can't we use plain English and say so?

Young Airdrie family attended church just hours before apparent murder-suicide near St. Walburg, Sask.

Local residents stunned by deaths of Darren, Hayley Wourms, two-year-old son Cayden

By Clara Ho, Calgary Herald, with file from and Jason Warick the StarPhoenix

May 30, 2012

The family found dead near St. Walburg has been identified as Darren Wourms, 26, wife Hayley Wourms, 23, and son Cayden, age two.

Roughly a month before a young Airdrie family was found dead in a Saskatchewan ditch, RCMP brought the husband to hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

On Monday afternoon, the bodies of the man, his wife, and their young son were discovered on the side of a rural road close to St. Walburg, about 100 kilometres northeast of Lloydminster.

RCMP have not released the names, but friends and relatives identified the family as Darren Wourms, 26, his wife Hayley Wourms, 23, and their son Cayden, 2.

The couple and their toddler had travelled to Darren's home town to help with his brother's wedding plans, and had just attended church hours before they were found dead, said family friend Rev. Richard Doll.

A passing motorist spotted the bodies in the sparsely populated area at about 1: 20 p.m. and contacted RCMP. Officers also found a small-calibre .22 rifle as well as the family's Buick Century at the scene.

While police declined to classify the case as a murdersuicide, "there is no indication of another party being involved in the deaths of these three individuals," said RCMP spokesman Sgt. Paul Dawson.

It was about a month ago, on April 24, that RCMP responded to the family's southwest Airdrie home after receiving a call from a relative worried about the husband's well-being.

"The concerns that were raised by the third party certainly warranted an investigation to be conducted, so an investigation was conducted, statements were obtained from people and further review was done," said RCMP spokeswoman Sgt. Patricia Neely.

Darren was taken to a Calgary hospital for a mental health assessment. No criminal charges were laid in connection with the incident, she said.

Partner agencies were involved to help the family with their "ongoing struggles," though Neely declined to specify.

Neighbour Chuck Graystone said one day shortly after the family moved in, he saw four RCMP cars parked outside the two-storey home with an ambulance down the street. They remained outside for about an hour and a half, with one RCMP cruiser staying for between three and four hours.

"No one knew what it was about," Graystone said, adding he never saw much of the family. "They had just moved in and they seemed all right. It's just a really sad situation." Extended family and friends gathered at the Wourms family farm outside St. Walburg on Tuesday. Many are having difficulty coming to terms with the tragedy, said Doll, a Roman Catholic priest and longtime family friend.

"Everything looked rosy. (Hayley) was a real sweetheart. Whatever happened, we just have no idea," he said, in an interview from his kitchen table.
Darren was one of nine children and came from a family heavily involved in the church, 4-H clubs and other volunteer activities, Doll said.

Doll officiated the couple's wedding three years ago in Hayley's hometown of Assiniboia in southern Saskatchewan. He described the pair as "nice kids" who seemed very much in love and ready for what marriage would involve, having completed eight hours of marriage counselling and preparation.

In the hallway of Doll's home hangs the couple's wedding photo, one of 148 displayed.

Darren had been working in the booming oilsands community of Fort McMurray, which was taking a toll on him, Doll said.

Family members persuaded him not to return, but he was only weeks away from obtaining an engineering certificate and decided to continue, Doll said.

According to his Facebook posts, Darren worked at Kiewit Energy Canada in Calgary and had recently moved to their new home in Airdrie.

The couple wrote of their excitement in response to friends who commented on photos of the empty lot, blueprints, and the house when it was finally built.

"Housing is better priced out there and Hayley prefers the smaller community," Darren wrote.

Darren's great aunt Irene Wourms Gobeille is wondering what went wrong.

"None of us know what happened but he was such a wonderful young man," she said. "I'm having difficulty going online and looking at the pictures they've posted."

Autopsies were scheduled for Tuesday in Saskatoon, where "valuable information" is expected to come out, said Dawson.

Members from major crimes in Saskatoon, the forensic identification units in Saskatoon and North Battleford, and police dog services from North Battleford are also assisting with the case that has hit police hard.

"It's tragic enough when a 23-year-old and a 26-year-old pass away," said Neely. "But to have it in conjunction with a two-year-old certainly makes it extraordinarily sad."