Neighbours will remember the woman found dead outside her home on Oct. 2 as a “sweetheart” with a vibrant, active young family.
Fort Saskatchewan RCMP confirmed that they found the bodies of Colleen Sillito, 46, and Paul Jacob, 56, on the driveway outside of her Alderson Close home on Oct. 2.
Sillito, a mother of five, was killed by Jacob, who was her ex-boyfriend. He then committed suicide on the driveway shortly after.
At the time of the shooting, two members of Sillito’s immediate family were in the home but were unharmed. Police are not releasing the names of the family members.
It was shortly after 6 a.m. when neighbour Deanna Morin woke up to what she thought was a truck malfunctioning.
“The first shot woke us up, we both just totally jumped,” she recalled.
“Because we were half-asleep, we kind of went ‘what was that?’ And then about 20 seconds later we heard the second one. Once I heard the sirens I thought maybe a propane tank had exploded, because it was that loud.”
She later learned about the incident on the news.
Morin said her youngest child rode her scooter with Sillito’s youngest child and that her kids would go over there to play with rabbits owned by Sillito’s children.
She described Sillito as a “very nice lady”. She had also been introduced to Jacob when he previously lived at the home.
Court records show that at the time of the incident, a peace bond prohibited Jacob from going to the home unless accompanied by the RCMP.
“When they moved here we were introduced to Paul, he seemed fine, mowing the lawn like a normal guy, shaking hands and whatever,” Morin said.
“He worked out in Fort McMurray so we didn’t see a lot of him.”
Patrons of the Brant Hotel said they recalled seeing Jacob at the bar Thursday evening and did not notice anything out of the ordinary.
Court records show that Sillito and Jacob had been split up since at least January, when she made an application for a restraining order against him.
The request was granted and expired on July 6.
In her application, Sillito says Jacob is volatile, unpredictable and made her fear for her safety.
“There is a history of verbal abuse to myself and my children,” she wrote.
“There have also been regular threats to myself especially surrounding what he would do if I ever left him.”
She added that he had been using cocaine and drinking heavily since Dec. 2014. At the time, she said he was coming home early from a trip to Mexico for assaulting someone.
“I’m afraid for the safety of myself and my children when he comes home to find that I am separating from him and applying to stay in the house,” Sillito wrote.
Although the restraining order was only in effect until July 6, the peace bond, which resulted from a charge of uttering a threat to cause bodily harm, still prohibited Jacob from going to the Alderson Close home.
A memorial with flowers and candles sat in the driveway of the home on Oct. 5. A drawing of a flower had the words “Thank you for sharing and teaching with your (love) for art. We’ve been blessed.”
Sillito was a local photographer and yoga instructor. Morin said her whole block has been affected by the tragedy.
“I still feel safe, but I’m very saddened …. It will take some time to get through it, for sure, we’re going to be reminded of it every time we go out,” she said.
Last Sunday, Alderson Close residents held a candlelight vigil for Sillito. They also tied purple ribbons on trees in her memory.
“Putting up the ribbons was a great way to pull the community together,” Morin said. “The ribbons almost kind of brighten it up a little, that we’re doing this for Colleen and the kids. We’re trying to put the tragedy behind us.”
As the community came together to mourn together, Morin found some comfort in knowing her neighbours were also affected by the incident.
In some ways, it actually brought her closer to her neighbours, albeit in tragic way.
“There were some people in the cul-de-sac who we had never met because they live at the other end … I think that helped, because you realize you’re not the only one feeling the pain.”
A memorial for Sillito is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 9 at 3 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Sherwood Park, followed by a celebration of life at 6 p.m. here in the Fort in the Dow Centennial Centre.