The man accused of murdering a Mission woman and attempting to kill her two children by setting their mobile home on fire made his first appearance in court on Monday.
Walter Joseph Ramsay, 42, was arrested April 18 and charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of arson, stemming from the tragic incident that occurred the day before.
Just after 3 a.m. on April 17, Mission RCMP were called to Green Acres Mobile Home Park on Shook Road by Hatzic Lake after a trailer home went up in flames.
Once fire crews extinguished the blaze and were able to enter the trailer, the body of 33-year-old Eleanor Anthonysz was found inside.
An 11-year-old girl and eight year-old boy escaped the blaze. Witnesses reported that the two children ran from the trailer with their hands still bound together with zip ties.
The children were taken to hospital by ambulance. The boy has since been released while the girl was last reported to be at BC Children’s Hospital being treated for second-degree burns.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team was called in, and Ramsay was arrested the next day.
The victim’s family members and residents of the mobile home park are now coping with the tragedy.
Todd Sund lives beside the trailer that burned down and said everyone is upset. The night of the blaze, he didn’t hear anything until someone started banging on his door telling him to get out. When he stepped outside, he saw the fire.
“It was fully engulfed by the time I got out. A neighbour tried to get in the back window there, but no. It was just engulfed,” said Sund.
The fire was so strong that the siding on Sund’s trailer melted.
A memorial of flowers and balloons has been created at the entrance to the park.
Two fundraising accounts on GoFundMe have been set up to help Anthonysz’s family deal with the tragedy.
Help Victims of Fatal Mission Fire was set up by Anthonysz’s mother, Carole Watson, on April 19 and has already raised $3,780. According to the page, Watson is a long-time Mission resident who is now caring for her two grandchildren.
Anthonysz was described as a “hardworking single mom” who loved to cook, “but first and foremost, she was a loving mother to her children.”
The second page, called Help Ele’s Kids’ Future, was started by friends of the family and aims to raise funds to help replace items the two children lost in the fire, such as computers, television, and bikes. More than $7,600 has been raised since April 19.
Both accounts are genuine, said Lisa Sinclair, a family friend who has known Watson for nine years.
“We’re just trying to help them out with anything they need,” said Sinclair. “Carole has to redo her home to accommodate the two kids.”
A private celebration of life is being planned.
Ramsay’s next court appearance is listed as May 11 in Abbotsford.