Tragic Aldergrove murder shakes the community

This murder hits home, as Shelly Janzen was one of our carriers. She was reliable and trustworthy.

The horrific murder of an Aldergrove woman in her home, as part of a murder-suicide spree by her brother, has left the community deeply shaken.

It has also shaken us at The Times and our sister newspaper The Aldergrove Star, as Shelly Janzen was one of our carriers.

She took on delivery of The Times, and later The Star, in her neighbourhood about six months ago. She was very reliable and trustworthy, and our circulation department was happy with her work.

She had lived in the home on 271A Street with her mother, who passed away last August at the age of 80. She was instrumental in taking care of her.

The Janzen family have been in Langley for many decades, and were longtime members of Bethel Mennonite Church on 56 Avenue in the North Otter area. At one time, the area surrounding the church was home to many Mennonite farm families.

A crime of this type is completely senseless. I have heard of and reported on other murder-suicides, but cannot recall anything this strange — and terribly sad.

I cannot understand why this woman, as well as her sister-in-law and niece, were targeted by this man who had been an important part of all their lives.

However, mental illness can cause otherwise fine people to do very irrational and  awful things,  and it  may be that the complete picture of what led to this tragedy and the loss of four lives will never be fully known.

It’s a good reminder to all of us that, if we see a loved one struggling with mental illness, it is important to get help for them as soon as possible. Many types of mental illness can be treated quite easily, particularly if the problem is addressed at an early stage.

Some mental illness can be treated with prescription drugs. Some requires counselling. No matter what type it is, or how it is best treated, early intervention and prompt medical assistance is very important in preventing the problem from becoming much worse.

Randy Janzen claimed on Facebook (which is a very strange thing in itself) that he was led to kill his 19-year-old daughter Emily because she had persistent migraines. This is not the act of a rational man.

To then kill his wife and sister, and finally die after being surrounded in a home by police, adds even more tragedy and heartache for so many people.

One good thing which has come out of this is that one of Shelly Janzen’s neighbours is looking to organize an event so that people in his neighbourhood can get to know one another better. This is a wise move.

In a day and age when people are often  very isolated in their homes, captivated by technology, it still remains important to get to know people who live nearby. Putting a name to a face, exchanging greetings, and looking out for each other in case of potential trouble in the neighbourhood — all of these are good things.

Aldergrove is a good community. People who live there frequently say they enjoy the small-town feel and the sense of community that exists.

Making that community even stronger, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, is a fitting response to an unspeakable tragedy.

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