This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Triple murder, suicide shock B.C. church

A Mennonite congregation in British Columbia devoted Mother’s Day to mourning after a shocking triple homicide and suicide rocked the Fraser Valley.

Shelly Janzen, a member of Bethel Mennonite Church in Langley, was one of three family members killed by her brother Randy Janzen. Canadian media sources report Randy Janzen confessed on Facebook May 7 to killing his sister, his daughter Emily and his wife, Laurel, in Langley and Popkum.

Emily Janzen had suffered from powerful migraines.

“Over the last 10 days I have done some of the worst things I could have ever imagined a person doing,” Randy Janzen’s online post said. “I took a gun and shot her in the head and now she is migraine free and floating in the clouds on a sunny afternoon, her long beautiful brown hair flowing in the breeze, a true angel. . . . Then I shot Laurel because a mother should never have [to] hear the news her baby has died. . . . Then a couple of days later my sister Shelly because I did not want her to have to live with this shame I have caused all alone.”

He died after a four-hour standoff with police that concluded with the family home burning down.

“We had a service of mourning and healing as a congregation yesterday morning,” Bethel Pastor Phil Wheaton said May 11. “It was as grief-stricken and emotional a gathering as I have ever witnessed.”

He said Shelly Janzen was a regular attender. Randy Janzen grew up in the church, and his parents were longtime members who helped establish the church in 1936. Emily, the 19-year-old daughter, occasionally attended with her grandmother and sang at her September funeral. Laurel, Randy’s wife, did not have a connection to the church.

Tim Huber

Tim Huber is associate editor at Anabaptist World. He worked at Mennonite World Review since 2011. A graduate of Tabor College, Read More

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