Saanich police confirm couple’s deaths as murder-suicide — (Times-Colonist)

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Times-Colonist

Cindy E. Harnett / Times Colonist

May 2, 2014 12:19 PM

Victoria  – A 59-year-old Saanich man killed his wife and then killed himself, Saanich police said.  The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit and the Saanich police have concluded that the April 28 deaths of Anne Harvey, 61, and her husband Neil Harvey, 59, are the result of a murder-suicide.

“Based on the evidence from the investigation, investigators believe that the death appears to have been caused by the victim’s husband,” said Saanich police Sgt. Steve Eassie.

The couple lived in the 1800-block of Newton Street.

“The death of the male appears to have been an act of suicide,” Eassie said. “Based on the evidence that our investigators have recovered these two events would appear to be an apparent murder-suicide.”

The exact cause of death is still under investigation by the B.C. Coroners Service.

The deceased couple’s family have now been notified by police. The couple did not have children and, according to Saanich police investigators, finding relatives was “an extremely difficult process” that took considerable time.

Saanich police were alerted to the deaths by the adult daughter of a neighbour after she got a suspicious call from the husband, who sounded distraught, asking her to go to the house to check on his cat. At the end of the conversation, the man said she should also call police.

When the neighbour’s daughter called Saanich police about 2:30 p.m. Monday, they told her not to go to the house.

Officers had their guns drawn when they approached the small pink bungalow on Newton Street, between Foul Bay and Richmond roads.

Inside, police found the body of a woman. Police across Greater Victoria were given a licence-plate number and description of the vehicle linked to the home as they searched for the man.

About an hour later, Oak Bay police found the abandoned vehicle in a parking lot near Cattle Point. They searched the area on foot and tourists told officers they had spotted a body submerged in water near the shoreline. Divers were called to recover the body.

According to land title documents, Neil Andrew Harvey was a nursing assistant and Anne Louise Harvey was a registered nurse who worked at Royal Jubilee Hospital. They bought the house in 1991.

In the phone conversation with her daughter, the neighbour, who did not want to give her name, said she was told by the husband “there would be a note on the kitchen table saying what to do with the cat.”

The neighbour, who has lived in her home for 40 years, said the couple, were retired and often stayed at home, rarely having company over.

They were both friendly and often chatted to the neighbour and her adult daughter about the two cats, one of which died last week.

“They were very compassionate people. They were very devoted to their cats,” she said. “They were very nice people, so I’m quite surprised.”

This is the second murder in Greater Victoria this year.

Joseph Melvin Desroches, 71, is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of his wife, Rosa Desroches, inside their home on Cameo Street in Saanich on March 18.

This is also the second murder-suicide in Saanich in the last three years.

On Jan. 18, 2011, 72-year-old Erich Mueller stabbed his wife, 66-year-old Kathy Mueller, to death and then killed himself inside their Cadboro Bay home.

According to the 2012 coroners’ report into the murder-suicide, Mueller was suffering from depression, stopped taking his anti-depressants, started to show signs of dementia and became stressed about financial issues that he thought were more dire than they were.

The report said murder-suicides among older couples often happen despite the couple having no history of domestic abuse, which is not the case with younger couples.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

charnett@timescolonist.com

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