Family mourns Regina woman killed in murder-suicide in N.L.
Taylor Balfour remembers her high school friend Ryanna Grywacheski fondly, as a talented young woman who cared deeply for her loved ones.
“It makes me sad that not more people will get to know the person that I knew,” said Balfour. “Dying at 18 is just unfair. Your life has hardly begun.”
Grywacheski's life was cut short last weekend. RCMP said she was killed by her boyfriend, 37-year-old Jeff Kilfoy, in Marystown, Newfoundland.
RCMP found Grywacheski's body in an apartment. Kilfoy's body was found a day later in the woods, not far from where the two lived. RCMP said took his own life.
In a statement on behalf of the victim’s family, Grywacheski’s aunt, Cornelia Behr, described her as “beautiful, loving and caring.”
“She was always smiling and willing to lend a helping hand,” Behr said. “She was passionate about anything she set her mind to.”
She says her niece loved animals, baking and cooking, and was a very talented and creative artist who aspired to become a welder.
In 2013, Grywacheski was hit by a car while walking to school. Behr says her niece struggled with depression after months of rehabilitation.
“She also struggled with finding her own path. But she was unique and never afraid to be herself,” Behr said.
“She was strong, and overcame many obstacles in the short time she had with us all.”
Grywacheski came from a large family, with Ukrainian and Polish heritage on her mother’s side, and Irish, Scottish and Cree on her father’s.
“She had many family and friends of different ethnicities and never discriminated against anyone. She honestly had a heart of gold,” Behr said. “She will be greatly missed by us all.”
Balfour said Grywacheski’s death is a reminder that domestic violence still exists.
“She deserves to be remembered for the person that she was when she was alive. But it's important to know how she died and why she died, because we need to talk about it,” said Balfour. “We need to acknowledge that this is a problem that can't keep happening.”
Saskatchewan has the highest police-reported domestic violence rate of any province.
All domestic abuse incidents in Regina are referred to Family Service Regina. The agency said the number of referrals it receives is on the rise.
“We have so little resources to deal with it. Here in Regina, (we get) 400 to 500 referrals a month and six of us look after that,” said Jen Renwick with Family Service Regina. “That isn't enough. We need more resources.”
While Grywacheski's death is a reminder of the problem, Balfour says it's also important to remember that Grywacheski was more than just what happened to her.
“She isn't just someone that we can display and go, ‘This was a domestic dispute.’ She's someone that's more than that,” said Balfour. “She was artistic and she was sweet and she was a person. She deserves to be remembered as a unique person.”