Verena Koenig settled in Whitehorse in 2009 when her friend introduced her to Valé Thé orêt – the happiest person whom Koenig later reminded she had ever met. It did not take long before they both became tight: they played together with the guitar, went to potlucks, skied and paddled, and embarked on all sorts of adventures in nature.
Koenig was a novelty in the capital of Yukon, and every friend he made in the early days of the city – people, in some cases he now considers family – met across Valérie.
"It was full of love," Koenig said. "Even when the fighting took place and the things that have become and obstacles have always been so positive – and it would always be there if you needed it."
Thé orêt, 37, and her ten-month-old daughter, Adele Roesholt, died when a bear grizzly attacked behind a remote cabin deep in the wild Yukon. They lived in a campsite near Lake Einarson, near the borders of Yukon's actions with northwestern territories, for the past three months with Thé Oret's partner and Adele's father, Gjermund Roesholt, who found his body when he came home on a Monday afternoon from a trip to check the family.
She will always be so positive
Before his terrible discovery, Roesholt met a bear about 100 meters from the cabin. The animal began to charge him and he shot a dead bear, confirmed Yukon's chief coroner. A moment later, he found the bodies of his wife and daughters lying close to the door of the cabin.
The ortete and Adele were probably on a walk sometime between 10 am and Roesholt's return from the trapline at 3 pm, he said.
As the coroner office and the RCMP investigate death, people who know Thé oret remember her as a caring friend, eager outdoors and devoted to a public school teacher.
The orte who came from Quebec was on maternity leave from a job teaching French immersion in Grade 6 at Whitehorse Primary School. Yukon's Department of Education said he was a "valuable teacher" and added that he provided support services for staff and students throughout the territory.
"Our sincere condolences are with family and friends, with staff and students who suffer," the department said. "This tragedy weighs our hearts as a community. At such times we will meet to take memory and to support one another."
Remy Beaupre, a friend of Thé orêt, told CBC that Thé Oreet and Roesholt had bought their trapline a few years ago at Lake Einarson and were able to visit the area with Adele for a long time during the Thé orêt holiday.
"Now it was an opportunity for everyone to go as a family," Beaupre said.
Brian Melanson, a hunter who owns another cabin in the Einarson Lake area, told CBC that the deaths of Thé Ortét and Adele would break in people in the Yukon hunter community.
"Everything will go home," Melanson said. "You know, we go outside, we all, we take our wives and our children and we live there."
An expert in Montana told the Canadian press that the fatal assault of a grizzly bear is unusual.
"It's a very sad state of affairs – something nobody likes to see – so it's important to understand what's happened," said Chris Servheen, a former long-haired bear of the American bear and Wildlife.
"It would be valuable to try to understand why this happened if it can be determined by carefully restoring the events."
Verena Koenig, meanwhile, is already living in Whitehorse, but she planned to travel there on Thursday to mourn her friend. When she thinks about Thé orté, she said she remembered her spark, her love for nature and her beautiful blue eyes.
"When you think about it, it's like a big nightmare and it just will not wake up. I really do not know how we all do it," Koenig said. "We just have to remember that he is such a beautiful human being, and Adele was a wonderful little girl."
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