|Jeremy Snow holds his girlfriend Tiffany Goruk in this photo posted to an online memorial page on Facebook. Both were killed late Monday night and their bodies were found inside of a crashed SUV outside of a condo in West Kelowna.|
Tiffany Goruk had no enemies and died of collateral damage, a grieving friend says.
The West Kelowna mother of two was sitting in her Cadillac Escalade with boyfriend Jeremy Snow when someone killed them Monday night - likely the man seen running from the vehicle moments after it crashed into a wall.
Snow, 33, had served time in a U.S. prison for smuggling 79 kilograms of marijuana from Canada in 2009. Goruk had no record and was killed because she witnessed his murder, a friend said Wednesday.
"I could not imagine someone trying to hurt Tiffany," said the friend, who requested anonymity because of the nature of the crime. "How she got killed - it was not her that was (targeted) in that crossfire."
Snow pleaded guilty to flying a helicopter packed with pot from Kelowna to a wooded area in northern Idaho in March 2009. Police arrested him in a cross-border sting that focused on drug smugglers. Another helicopter pilot, Samuel Lindsay-Brown of Revelstoke, committed suicide in a Spokane jail days after he was arrested in the same operation.
Snow, the father of a daughter now age 10, flew from Kelowna without a licence. He'd taken a flying course at Okanagan Mountain Helicopters but dropped out before completing the four-month program.
He agreed to transport the contraband
after considerable coaxing because he was in serious debt, court documents show. He never got his $50,000 payoff. He was sentenced to 46 months behind bars for participating in the marijuana-for-cocaine deal, and was later released on parole. "He was trying to clean that part of his life up," said Goruk's friend. "He was not in that lifestyle anymore and he was trying to be a good guy."
A sniffer dog lost the scent of the man seen running from Goruk's vehicle after it crashed in Terravitta, a Westside gated community where she lived. RCMP set up a tips line Wednesday and have made no arrests.
Goruk, 30, had been seeing Snow for more than a year. They lived together for a time and she moved into a condo at Terravitta a year ago. Snow "really loved" her and the pair were a handsome couple, her friend said.
"Anybody who's ever loved Tiffany - men, professionally - they've never gotten over her. They will always love her."
She was separated from her husband Kevin Goruk, who looked after the kids most of the time. A neighbour said they last visited her a few days before she died.
"(Kevin) always hoped they'd reconcile," the friend said. "He'd bring her a lunch, coffee. He just really loved her a lot. And the kids - he'd always invite her to visit."
Goruk was the loving mother of two young boys Ty and Kash, and had many friends in many circles. She was overwhelmed by life at one point and needed a break. But she remained a fun, active mom, taking her sons to feed the ducks and play in the park.
She grew up in Vancouver and moved to Kelowna years ago. She started a tanning salon under the name Tiffany Robinson, believed to be her maiden name. She operated Sunset Beach Tanning Studio at 3320 Richter St. for at least two years and closed it in October. A hair salon now occupies the space.
A Facebook page dedicated to her memory was filled with heartfelt tributes. Almost 400 friends had logged on to the page by late Wednesday afternoon.
"Life is so fragile," wrote one. "The thought of never seeing Tiff and Jer again breaks my heart . . . I'll forever miss your beautiful smile . . . u didn't deserve this . . . Another angel has returned to heaven."
Goruk had many friends in many circles. She could get "very deep" and never judged people. The only people who disliked her were envious of her beauty, her friend said.
She went to the gym, hiked and ran. She preferred athletic wear but changed her look frequently and had a keen eye for fashion.
The killer likely didn't anticipate how strongly people would react to her death, said the friend.
"He's going to have to be hiding in a pretty deep place. Because she had friends everywhere and people that loved her dearly everywhere. I'm just grieving."
Police are withholding the cause of death but many speculate the couple was shot. A pathologist will conduct autopsies, said RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.
The killer likely knew his victims.
Police say the public isn't directly threatened.
The slayings could be gang related. At least eight criminal gangs have set up in the Central Okanagan to compete for turf in the lucrative drug trade.
A gang war has claimed dozens of lives in the Lower Mainland since Red Scorpion Jonathan Bacon was gunned down outside Kelowna's Delta Grand hotel in August 2011.
Investigators haven't released a description of the suspect. A "small number" of people have called the tip line (1-888-688-4264) since it went up Wednesday, Moskaluk said.