The death of a mother and her young baby from a suspected bear attack has shocked locals in Canada’s remote Yukon territory.
Valerie Theoret, 37, and her 10-month-old daughter, Adele Roesholt, were found dead Monday by Theoret’s husband, Adele’s father, near Einarson Lake, the Yukon Coroner’s Service said.
Gjermund Roesholt was returning home from trapping in the Einarson Lake area when he discovered the bodies of his wife and young daughter lying outside.
Roesholt had just shot and killed a grizzly bear that charged at him, some 100 meters from the family’s home.
The family had been living in the remote cabin for three months, the coroner said. According to locals interviewed by CNN affiliate CTV, they loved the outdoors and were familiar with the risk posed by bears.
“When a tragedy happens in a small community. All the community feels it, it’s a shock,” Isabelle Salesse, Executive Director, Association Franco-Yukonnaise told CTV.
After finding his family’s bodies, Roesholt made an emergency call to the closest village, Mayo, home to around 200 people, CNN affiliate CBC News reported.
Word spread quickly through the area, where many people knew the couple and had just months ago been celebrating the birth of their new baby.
“It’s a big, big blow. Everybody is totally devastated right now,” their friend Rémy Beaupré told CBC. “Lots of our friends are gathering tonight to mourn a little bit and support each other a little bit.”
Theoret was on maternity leave from her job as a Grade 6 French Immersion teacher at Whitehorse Elementary School, a small school of 450 students in the south of Yukon territory.
According to the coroner’s report, Theoret appears to have been taking the couple’s baby for a walk when they were attacked sometime between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Monday.
It’s not known exactly when they were attacked nor the extent of their injuries.
Brian Melanson, President of Yukon Trappers Association, told CBC he’d met the couple a few times.
“These are competent bush people,” he said. “It’s not from lack of experience.
“It’s going to be devastating to the community, because it’s going to hit home to everybody. You know, we go out there, all of us, we take our wives and our children, and we live out there.”
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it was investigating the death of two individuals in the area following a suspected bear attack but has not released additional details.