Popkum murder-suicide wipes out entire family

Aldergrove resident Shelly Janzen is among four dead in a murder-suicide which involved her brother Randy killing her, his 19-year-old daughter and his wife.

Randy posted a chilling confession of the killings on Facebook which prompted the RCMP to go to Shelly’s home where her body was found.

The police also went to Randy’s home in Popkum near Rosedale and spend four hours trying to talk anyone out of the home before it caught fire May 8.

Three bodies have since been found in the home.

Randy confessed in a Facebook post to shooting his daughter Emily because she suffered from terrible migraines and depression that caused her great pain.

He goes on to say, he then shot his wife Laurel because “a mother should never have hear the news her baby has died.”

He wrote that he has “great remorse” for his actions, and that his family is in heaven and pain free. He also alludes to shooting his sister Shelly because he “did not want her to have to live with this shame” that he “caused all alone.”

Philip Wheaton, a pastor at Bethel Mennonite Church, has known the Janzen family for years.

Randy and Shelly’s parents were Langley farmers and among the first Mennonites to immigrate to the area. They had helped establish the church in 1936, and introduced their daughter Shelly to members of the congregation while she was still a baby.

Shelly was a gentle, quiet individual with an exceptionally loving personality, said Wheaton. She had lived in pain with an arthritic condition and had a hearing impairment, things that “seemed to wall her off from people a little bit.” But she had a handful of people who truly invested in her and who she deeply cared for in return, he said.

Shelly had lived with her parents her entire life, and worked as a pet groomer at Birch Bark Kennels in Aldergrove for at least 15 years. She had a habit of donating all of her tips to animal rescue, recalled Dodie Zilke at Birch Bark.

After Shelly’s father died about a decade ago, she and her mother – since deceased – moved to a house on 271A Street.

Wheaton did not know Randy as well as Shelly, but had spoken with the man about a dozen times over the past 10 years, most recently after the death of his mother in August.

“He was friendly, outgoing, pleasant, cared deeply for his family,” he said, adding that Randy’s love for them was “obvious in one sense, but misguided in another.”

Wheaton said the last time he saw Shelly was during church on April 26. He said he is planning a service for her this Sunday, but it has been difficult finding a next of kin because every member of her immediate family is now dead.

Wheaton did not know Randy’s wife Laurel well, and Emily only a little better. He recalled having booked the young singer at the church a few years back, but she had to cancel the gig on account of a migraine headache.

Randy Janzen was also lead singer in a band called Marauder about 15 years ago.

– With files from the Vancouver Sun

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