Court told Calgary man, 85, charged in wife’s death likely to have dementia

A 85-year-old Calgary man accused of murdering his 80-year-old wife had been suffering from dementia

CALGARY — Loved ones say a 85-year-old Calgary man accused of murdering his 80-year-old wife had been suffering from dementia for years.

Siegfried van Zuiden made a brief court appearance today, during which he was ordered to undergo a 30-day mental health assessment at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre.

A row of family friends wept and embraced each other as the frail, confused-looking man entered the courtroom wearing a blue jumpsuit.

The couple’s godson Vince Walker says van Zuiden was a great man who escaped Nazi-occupied Holland during the Second World War and later founded a successful sailboat business in Calgary.

Walker says it was important for he and others close to the family to be in court to show van Zuiden — who went by Fred — that he isn’t alone.

Van Zuiden was charged with second-degree murder on Tuesday after he called police and officers found Audrey van Zuiden dead in the couple’s home.

Gordon van Gunst and his wife bought Glenmore Sailboats from the van Zuidens about 15 years ago and the couple became like second set of parents to them.

“Fred and Audrey were soul mates, they were best of friends, they never left each other’s side,” said van Gunst.

Van Gunst said Audrey was “the rock behind Fred” and would not have wanted him put in a care facility, despite his illness.

“They lived a very full life. They were always on the go. Audrey, I know, would never have wanted anything different, though. The outcome, albiet tragic, wouldn’t have ever changed in her mind.”

Psychiatrist George Duska told court that van Zuiden probably has dementia and had minimal understanding of why he was in court.

He said van Zuiden thought he was there because of something related to a ski accident.

Duska said van Zuiden appears to be pleasant and courteous.

The case is next to be in court Nov. 4.

– The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

According to the city, trees are the main solution to improving urban canopy cover in downtown areas.
Tree care focus of free webinar

Red Deer and Lacombe Counties hosting March 11 webinar

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

EDMONTON — Alberta’s COVID-19-era budget made a hard landing Thursday with an… Continue reading

The expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has been discussed for over a decade. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital expansion gets about $6 million in 2021 provincial budget

According to the government’s three-year plan, the project will get $59 million by 2024.

The Town of Sylvan Lake has launched a new contest to attract a new business. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano tries to help goaltender David Rittich stop a shot from Ottawa Senators right wing Drake Batherson during first-period NHL action Thursday, February 25, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

‘Black box’ in Woods SUV could yield clues to cause of wreck

‘Black box’ in Woods SUV could yield clues to cause of wreck

Team Saskatchewan skip Sherry Anderson reacts to her shot against Team Quebec at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

FILE - New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist reacts after a save during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers in New York, in this Sunday, March 1, 2020, file photo. The Flyers defeated the Rangers 5-3. Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist will sit out the upcoming NHL season because of a heart condition, announcing the news a little more than two months after joining the Washington Capitals. Lundqvist posted a written statement and a videotaped one on social media Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, saying it was a "pretty tough and emotional day." The 38-year-old from Sweden was bought out by the New York Rangers after 15 seasons and signed a $1.5 million, one-year deal with Washington in October. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa holds up water collected from Neskantaga First Nation, where residents were evacuated over tainted water in October, during a rally at Queen's Park in Toronto on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

Most Read