A Red Deer resident who lost three family members in the Nova Scotia massacre says officials have given her permission to visit the province to say goodbye.
Tammy Oliver-McCurdie said her sister Jolene Oliver, niece Emily, 17, and brother-in-law Aaron Tuck, 45, were found dead in their Portapique, N.S., home Sunday.
Jolene Oliver, 39, was the youngest of three sisters.
Oliver-McCurdie said the family has been in touch with officials to learn more about travelling amid the ongoing pandemic, so her mom “can hold her daughter’s hand one last time.”
Not all the details were available Wednesday.
“We still have to figure out flights.
“We’re taking it one step at a time. We still want to have two funerals (in Alberta and Nova Scotia). We know what we want, but we’re figuring out how it’ll come together,” she said.
“I’m mad. I’m sad and frustrated, but I have to stay strong for my parents,” she said of her mom and dad, who also live in Red Deer.
Canada’s deadliest shooting massacre involves 16 crime scenes, including five burned buildings, and the death of 22 people.
The murder and arson rampage ended when the shooter was shot dead Sunday by RCMP officers in Enfield, N.S.
Oliver-McCurdie said the family tried to get in touch with Jolene, Emily and Aaron all day Sunday.
They had tried all three cellphones in the house, social media and the RCMP.
“It wasn’t like my sister to not respond, and Emily – she was (usually) active on Facebook.”
Sunday evening, just after 7 p.m., the Red Deer family learned their three relatives were found dead in their home, but didn’t know any other details.
On Monday, Oliver-McCurdie was informed the three were murdered “with firearms.”
“Their house is still standing, so it was firearms in their case. It wasn’t arson.
“They were all together – they lived as a family, they died as a family,” she said. “It’s a small menial piece of what I can get out of this.”
Knowing the family was together is comforting for Oliver-McCurdie, because the three usually spent time in one another’s company.
“Fixing cars was their family activity.”
Emily, who was in the garage even when she was young, knew all about fixing cars and had aquired the skills from her father. Aaron used his mechanical skills to help people, the Red Deerian said.
“He loved fixing cars.”
“My niece grew up in a garage,” the aunt said, adding Emily was “a lovely child and kindhearted.”
She was considering taking welding in post-secondary school.
“She, at 17, could fix anyone’s car. She knew what was underneath the hood better than most people do.”
The sister describes Jolene as a “great listener” and “someone who loved people.”
The sisters grew up in Calgary, where Jolene met Aaron. They moved to Sydney, N.S., around 2014 and then to Portapique about two years ago.
“Out of all the places the three have lived, we (the family) feel they were most happy in Portapique, so this is just devastating, because just as they were starting to feel at home in the community, just as things were starting to work out for them, life was taken from them.”
The family is accepting donations to help with the funerals on GoFundMe.
The Red Deerian said any additional funds that come in will be used to help young people interested in trades as part of the Emily Tuck Fund.
With files from The Canadian Press