News

Saanich police confirm murder-suicide, ID bodies found in home

The bodies of Erich and Kathy Mueller are removed by the B.C. Coroners Service from a home in the 3900 block of Cadboro Bay Rd. Wednesday afternoon. - Sharon Tiffin/News staff
The bodies of Erich and Kathy Mueller are removed by the B.C. Coroners Service from a home in the 3900 block of Cadboro Bay Rd. Wednesday afternoon.
— image credit: Sharon Tiffin/News staff

Mental health issues may have contributed to the murder-suicide of a couple found in their Cadboro Bay home last week, police say.

Erich and Kathy Mueller were found in their home in the 3900 block of Cadboro Bay Road by a family member around 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Saanich police spent more than 50 hours at the scene until Thursday evening.

Autopsies on the bodies were held Thursday in Vancouver, which revealed the deaths have been ruled murder-suicide. Police still have not revealed the causes of death.

"Those intimate investigative details are not being released by us at this time out of respect for the family members who are still very much grieving," said Sgt. Dean Jantzen.

Because the deaths have been ruled murder-suicide the police investigation is complete and the B.C. Coroners Service will investigate.

Jantzen said investigators and family members feel mental health issues were an underlying factor in the tragedy.

"We believe there were some undiagnosed or underlying issues here," he said, but could not comment further.

Erich, 72, was a retired civil engineer from Saskatchewan. Kathy, originally from the U.S., was a career counsellor and former teacher.

Prior to moving to Saanich the pair lived in Prince George, where Erich worked for the city and Kathy served as a school trustee in the '90s.

From September 2009 to April 2010 the Muellers were in Gingolx, B.C., at the mouth of the Nass River. Kathy taught adult continuing education programs in the small aboriginal community, as part of a partnership between Northwest Community College and the Village of Gingolx.

"They were pretty friendly and outgoing. We didn't see them sad," Gingolx education administrator Neal Barton said. "She was involved in the community. Students really enjoyed the way Kathy taught."

Erich tutored students on a volunteer basis during their stay.

Last Wednesday, Caddy Bay neighbour Mary Ann Fenimore said she and her husband knew the Muellers and had shared a few meals together.

"They were very nice people and we were delighted to have them as neighbours," she said. "We're all just in a sense of grief."

Jantzen said Saanich police haven't dealt with a lot of murder-suicides in recent memory, though they did take a lead role in September 2007 when Oak Bay resident Peter Lee killed his wife Sunny Park, their son Christian, as well as Park's parents.

This is the first homicide of 2011 for Saanich.

– with files from Prince George Free Press

kslavin@saanichnews.com

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