Angila Wilson, a 33-year-old nurse at Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital, was found dead in her Clearwater home on the morning of April 21, 2014, after police were called to check on her well-being.
Her estranged common-law husband was arrested that evening, following a seven-hour standoff with police at a home with the couple's children inside. He was later charged with first-degree murder.
The children — a seven-year-old daughter, a six-year-old son, and a three-year-old son — were taken into custody and have been in foster care ever since.
Now Wilson's brother and his wife are fighting to get them back.
"This is ten months later and these children are suffering for no reason. We're a viable home," said Frank Wilson.
Family accuses province of improper care
Wilson and his wife, Leanne Bowcott, are raising two children of their own in Hope, B.C., and have fostered other children in the past.
They say they don't understand why it's taking so long to gain custody of their niece and nephews.
"They've experienced trauma like no child should ever experience and it's hard on our family to not be able to care for them," said Bowcott.
Wilson's aunt, Dey Stewart, also accuses the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development of failing to provide proper care.
"It took three-and-a-half months and the intervention of the advocate's office before mental health counselling was put in place for these children," said Stewart.
To complicate matters, Wilson's family says the suspect's relatives are seeking custody of the children as well.
Opposition calls for investigation
B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth is urging ministry officials to settle the case soon.
"The delays are very long and they are caused largely by the ministry and its delegated agencies not being able to get on top of the work and do their work appropriately," said Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.
The B.C. New Democrats agree, and are calling for an investigation.
"The lack of urgency demonstrated by the ministry, and the minister, is really concerning. It causes huge questions to be raised," said NDP MLA Doug Donaldson.
Minister Stephanie Cadieux said she couldn't speak to the specifics of the case, but said the custody process takes time.
"Some cases are particularly complex. In some cases, there are multiple options for the placement of the children. We're talking about the children's entire life," she said.