'She was my rock': Redwater homicide victim remembered as beloved mother, grandmother

·3 min read
Anna Ermakova in an undated photo with her granddaughter. (Facebook/Galina Ermakova - image credit)
Anna Ermakova in an undated photo with her granddaughter. (Facebook/Galina Ermakova - image credit)

Galina Ermakova was looking forward to Mother's Day.

The 28-year-old Edmonton mom planned to have a physically distanced, over the gate visit with her own mother, Anna.

"Unfortunately, that morning I woke up to two policemen at my door telling me that my mom has passed away, " Galina Ermakova told CBC News as she struggled to hold back tears.

Anna Ermakova, 49, was found dead on May 8. RCMP said officers were called to a firearms complaint at a rural property in Redwater, Alta., at about 9:45 p.m. and Ermakova's body was discovered at the scene.

The man who lived with her, Robertas Kalkius, was severely injured and taken by ambulance to hospital, police said.

Kalkius was charged with first-degree murder five days later. On Monday, he made his first court appearance in Vegreville provincial court, appearing virtually from a hospital bed where he remains under police guard.

An autopsy is expected to be performed this week on the much-loved daughter, mother and grandmother.

Galina Ermakova did not want to elaborate on any problems her mother and common-law partner may have been experiencing but in a recent Facebook post, she wrote that she believes her mother was a victim of domestic violence.

On a fundraising page, the victim's friend called Anna's death a "senseless tragedy." Sheila Wilson said her friend came to Canada from Russia to escape domestic abuse and to give her daughter a better life.

"We came to Canada when I was 11-years-old," Galina said. "We came with $5,000 and just the two suitcases … We didn't have much but we kind of almost had everything we needed. Because we had each other."

When she came to Canada, Anna forged a new career as an insurance broker. She eventually traded in the insurance business and purchased a 169-acre farm outside of Redwater.

Galina said she met Lithuanian immigrant Robertas Kalkius about four years ago at a Polish hall and he moved in with her shortly thereafter.

Robertaas Kalkius in a 2015 photo with a family member.
Robertaas Kalkius in a 2015 photo with a family member.(Facebook)

"At first, I would love to think she was happy," Galina said.

Previous assault charge

Court records show Kalkius was charged with assaulting Anna on Dec. 27, 2018. The charge was withdrawn in October 2019.

The 46-year-old was also charged with impaired driving on March 2, 2020, and was scheduled to appear in court on May 13, 2021. By that time, he was in hospital and the court issued a warrant for his arrest.

Galina said it's regretful that the impaired driving trial was delayed due to the pandemic.

"Maybe if things went a little bit differently, my mom would still be here," she said. "There are not many things I can say at the moment, but if I could have done something, I would."

The victim's mother was living with her and has now moved in with Galina as both women try to cope with the loss and make funeral arrangements.

Galina tries to focus on the love and stability her mother brought to her life.

Three generations of Ermakova women.
Three generations of Ermakova women.(Facebook/Galina Ermakova)

"She was my rock. She was just the most wonderful grandmother," Galina said. "She was a beautiful soul and she did touch so many hearts."

Galina said she agreed to an interview with CBC News with the hope it might help someone else who could be struggling.

"I do believe people need to have a certain awareness of domestic violence, especially being cooped up at home," she said. "We do need to make sure everybody is safe."

Galina is asking people to consider placing a flower and light near a window or in a front yard to remember those impacted by domestic violence.