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Missing woman's daughter confirms mom's death, calls suspect's release 'disgusting'

The daughter of a woman who went missing in the North Okanagan over the weekend has confirmed that she has been found dead.

It was widely suspected following the RCMP’s announcement Monday that officers found a body during the search for Tatjana Stefanski.

While police would not confirm the victim’s identity, Tatjana’s daughter Selina did that through a post on social media.

“Unfortunately, she isn’t with us anymore,” Selina wrote. “We loved her so so much and she’s in a better place now.”

<who>Photo Credit: Selina Stefanski</who>Tatjana Stefanski

Another development that came from the RCMP on Monday was that a man “believed to be involved” in Stefanski’s death was arrested and then released under a series of conditions.

Again, police did not identify the suspect, but Selina said the man released as part of the investigation was Tatjana’s ex-husband, Vitali Steffen.

“Shortly after being released, he was seen 600 metres from our home and had been walking towards our property,” Selina claimed. “He was picked up and brought back into Vernon by police, and then released once again after that.”

She called the decision to release Steffen “disgusting,” but S/Sgt. Kris Clark told NowMedia that suspicious death investigations are “complex” and “can take time.”

“While I can understand the public concern, the threshold for charge approval is not insignificant. Further, the police do not have the authority to hold someone indefinitely until the investigation is complete,” he noted.

“It's also important to understand that the man who was arrested is subject to conditions which are one of the mechanisms police or the courts can use to mitigate potential risks to the public. In cases where a person fails to abide by their conditions, additional measures may be sought through the courts.”

While Selina expressed concern over her family and community’s safety with Steffen released, a social media post late Monday night from Tatjana’s boyfriend said the family was not in danger.

“Tatjana’s kids and I are safe and we are just processing everything,” he wrote. “I have no words to describe what we are feeling, but we are in a safe place until justice is served.”

Selina’s post ended by saying Tatjana was “an amazing mother” and that her “only wish is to be able to talk to her one more time.”

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