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'I just don't understand': Wife of homicide victim Jeremy Gordaneer looking for answers

Artist Jeremy Gordaneer was killed on Aug. 31 in Victoria's Rockland neighbourhood.
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Thea Patterson and Jeremy Gordaneer. VIA FAMILY

Three months after the unsolved killing of Victoria artist Jeremy Gordaneer, his wife is desperate for answers.

Police have provided few details about the Aug. 31 homicide on a quiet street in Rockland. Officers were called around 5 a.m. to a home on Carberry Gardens, owned by Gordaneer and his mother and sister, where they found ­Gordaneer inside with life-threatening injuries. Despite attempts by first responders to save his life, he died.

VicPD said at the time they did not believe there was a risk to the public. Three months have passed without an arrest or update.

The unanswered ­questions feel like a “tangible and ­palpable” weight on Gordaneer’s wife, Thea Patterson, who said she can’t help running through hypothetical scenarios in her head about what led to his final moments.

“I want to know what ­happened. I want to understand the series of events that could have unfolded for this particular instance that happened, because it makes no sense to me,” she said.

“I want to know who it was, how they got into the house. I want to know why they were there. I just don’t understand.”

Gordaneer, who lived in Edmonton at the time of his death, was visiting his mother in Victoria to support her as she recovered from eye surgery. Patterson spoke to him by phone on the night he died, as he walked home from having dinner with his two daughters, Clea, 20, and Sylvie, 22. “He was just happy,” Patterson said.

She speaks to police periodically, but they’re unable to provide her with any new information. VicPD spokesman Cam MacIntyre said the department is not able to provide an update, but continues to encourage anyone with information to share it with police.

While Patterson understands there are rules guiding what officers can tell her during an open investigation, the lack of answers is hard to bear.

“I do really just feel like I’m just a piece of laundry hanging out in the breeze, just alone on a line,” she said.

Patterson said after the initial shock of Gordaneer’s death faded, she has felt a growing pressure to know why and how he was killed and to advocate for swifter justice, but she feels powerless.

He was “the gentlest person,” and someone who didn’t invite violence into his life, Patterson said.

“There’s a person who is capable of doing something like that is just somewhere, and that’s a little bit freaky. It’s unsettling,” she said.

While she knows answers won’t bring him back, knowing what led to his final moments “would help rein in this far-reaching feeling of bewilderment.”

Gordaneer and Patterson went to high school together in Victoria and reconnected in the mid-2000s in Montreal, where the artists started collaborating on dance projects. Their friendship grew into a romantic connection and they married in Montreal in 2018.

Gordaneer was the son of the late Victoria painter James Gordaneer. He grew up in Victoria, surrounded by art, and began painting at an early age. He studied fine art and theatre, supporting himself through scenic art and design for theatre and dance, while also painting, sculpting and drawing.

In 2016, Gordaneer became the artist in residence at Camosun College. He had recently received a master’s in scenic design from the University of Alberta, and was moving into a new phase of his career. The university flew a banner at half-mast in honour of Gordaneer in early November.

His death and the loss of his artwork to come is “a profound loss” to the theatre and arts community in Victoria, Montreal and Edmonton, Patterson said.

“There’s a big hole,” she said.

regan-elliott@timescolonist.com