Man recovering from surgery after attack that killed his niece

A man injured during a violent struggle in a Brentwood Bay home that claimed the life of his niece has had surgery and is recovering in hospital.

John Caruana, a husband and father from Nova Scotia, was visiting his mother, Doris Caruana, when violence broke out, according to an online fundraising page created by his wife, Cindy Lee Sonier.

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Emily Caruana, 20, was killed. Two others were seriously injured — her boyfriend and her uncle — after what police described as a “violent struggle” inside the home around 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Emily and her boyfriend are from the Lower Mainland and were visiting Doris for Mother’s Day.

Alan Charles Chapman, a 47-year-old Nanaimo man, has been charged with first-degree-murder. Chapman is set to appear in court Wednesday morning.

Chapman’s connection to the family has not been made public. Police have not released any details on a motive, other than to say the incident was not random.

“On May 11th, 2019, our Caruana family was hit with unexpected tragedy after a violent struggle in their childhood home,” Sonier wrote on the fundraising site. “We lost our only niece and my husband is recovering from surgery to save his life in hospital.”

Sonier started the online fundraiser to pay for Emily Caruana’s funeral and to support her family while she’s in B.C. caring for her husband.

“My husband and oldest daughter were visiting family in B.C. at the time, and I flew across the country with our youngest to be by his bedside,” Sonier wrote. “We have no access to our family’s home anymore and need accommodations while we all heal.”

Brooke Davis, a friend of Emily’s who worked with her at a Save-On-Foods grocery store on the Lower Mainland, said she was kind and loving.

“She always went out of her way to help others no matter the circumstances. She had the biggest heart anyone could have and I will miss her so much,” Davis said.

Doris Caruana’s Meadowlark Lane home, where she has lived since 1977, remained behind police tape for a fourth day. Doris was married to Victor Caruana, who died in March, not several years ago as originally reported.

John Caruana was visiting his mother for the first time since Victor died, Sonier told the Times Colonist in an email.

The fundraiser had received $11,660 in pledges by Tuesday evening. Sonier thanked donors for their “love, prayers and support.”

The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit continues to investigate. No charges have been laid in relation to the two people injured.

Police have not released the cause of Emily Caruana’s death.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit at 250-380-6200.

— With files from Louise Dickson

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