A Canadian Forces soldier has been deemed responsible for the death of his wife shortly before he took his own life in a chilling fall from the 21st story of a Toronto, Canada apartment building. According to CBC News, decorated sergeant Robert Giblin, 43, stabbed his pregnant wife Precious Charbonneau, 33, several times before both fell from the 21st floor apartment they shared.
In a statement, the Department of National Defense described the death of a Canadian Forces member as “devastating.”
“The loss of any solider is … devastating to the military community and our thoughts and condolences go out to Sergeant Robert Giblin’s family and friends,” Department of National Defense spokesperson Lonny Kates said.
Giblin was stationed with Joint Task Force Central out of Toronto’s Denison Armoury. The Canadian Forces sergeant “kept his cards close to his chest,” Curtis Quinn, who went to school with Giblin, told the Toronto Star, admitting he was stunned by the violent manner of Giblin’s death.
Both Charbonneau and Giblin were quite active in chronicling their relationship on social media, and Giblin’s last Facebook post featured a picture of he and Charbonneau snuggling with the caption “Happiness is.”
— HuffPost Canada (@HuffPostCanada) December 22, 2015
Charbonneau’s last check in was at Japanese cheesecake store Uncle Tetsu’s, around two and a half hours before her death.
While it would be easy to dismiss the death of this Canadian Forces member and his spouse as a result of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), specialists say that this is likely not the case. Giblin did serve two tours with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan — once in 2005 and once in 2007 — but typically, according to Vince Savoia of the Tema Conter Memorial Trust, people with PTSD tend to isolate themselves rather than inflicting the double trauma of murder and then suicide.
“I’ve never heard of one suffering from PTSD actually murdering someone and then die by suicide,” he said. “In terms of rarity, this is as rare as it comes, if in fact that’s the case… because we don’t know what the whole story is. It could have been a family domestic.”
The Tema Conter Memorial Trust was established by Savoia in memory of Tema Conter, who was brutally raped and murdered in 1988. Savoia was the attending paramedic, and established the trust in 2001 as a way of educating people about critical incident stress and what they can do to help.
Giblin joined the Canadian Forces in 1997 and was an intelligence operator. In addition to his two tours of duty in Afghanistan, he also deployed on HMCS Regina in 2003. Scott Maxwell of Wounded Warriors said that while little is known about whether Giblin was dealing with post traumatic stress, it is important to also understand the impact such a diagnosis would have had on his wife as well.
“What this case tragically highlights – whether or not it was in relation to this gentleman’s service – is the impact on family members,” Maxwell said.
Crime scene cleaners were busy cleaning up the blood from the sidewalks and brickwork Monday.
Residents of the Toronto building reported hearing a loud thud followed by shouting and screaming. Joyce Hannah was in the building at the approximate time of the incident and said that a woman had apparently called to report something falling off the balcony. The superintendent walked outside to see what had happened and then came upon what appears to have been Charbonneau’s body.
“The super went down to help out and she walked right out and that’s when she saw the body facedown…” Hannah told the Toronto Star.“And at that time, I brought her in and I was holding her and she was in bad shape. I guess the other one went off after the police went up (five to six minutes later).”
— VICE Canada (@vicecanada) December 21, 2015
Autopsies are to be performed in fairly short order, and while police are looking for further information about the death of this Canadian Forces member and his pregnant wife, it is unknown yet as to whether further information will be made public in the matter.
[Image via Shutterstock]