NEWS
06/09/2011 01:22 EDT | Updated 08/09/2011 05:12 EDT

Iqaluit Family Deaths Probed, Details Emerging

CP

CBC -- Iqaluit RCMP are expected to give more details on Thursday about the deaths of four family members whose bodies were found this week.

The bodies of Sylvain Degrasse, Sula Enuaraq and their two young daughters were discovered late Tuesday afternoon, in a case that has shocked and saddened people in Nunavut's capital city.

The man's body was found at the local cemetery, a firearm nearby. The bodies of the woman and the children were found at a house in the city's Tundra Valley subdivision.

RCMP have confirmed that the four deceased were the members of one family unit, but they have otherwise remained tight-lipped about the deaths, which they would only describe as suspicious.

"Up to now, circumstances of the death have yet to be determined," RCMP Sgt. Jimmy Akavak said in a brief statement Wednesday.

"It's going to take a long time — many days, many hours — investigating this."

Police have scheduled a news conference for 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday to talk about their investigation.

Forensic experts have been called in from Winnipeg to help with the investigation, according to police.

The deaths have come as a shock to people in Iqaluit, a small city of about 7,000 residents. Many people in Iqaluit know each other, and there are a number of large families in the community.

The Nunavut government has compiled a list of support services for people who have been affected by the deaths.

One of those services is being provided by the St. Jude's Anglican Parish, which has opened its doors for anyone who wants to talk or cry.

"It's still a very small community. When something like this happens, it affects everybody," said Rebekah Williams, a volunteer with the church.

Crisis counselling is being offered at the Social Services office in Grinnell Place, and people can call the Kamatsiaqtut Nunavut Helpline at (867) 979-3333 during evenings.

Grief counsellors offered support on Wednesday to students and staff at Joamie Ilinniarvik elementary school, where one of the four victims was a Grade 2 student.