In May 2016, Wolf Sellmer -- a seemingly wealthy accountant with a medical supply business, a million-dollar home on Shuswap Road and properties in Kamloops and Vancouver -- was in a jail cell at the Kamloops courthouse after failing to produce documents sought by his creditors. Two weeks later, Sellmer was found dead by his daughter, killed by a single gunshot wound. Through court documents, extensive interviews with the family and a review of text exchanges in the days before his death -- including a threat relayed by a man once described by prosecutors as an Independent Soldiers affiliate -- Kamloops This Week looks at the circumstances surrounding the millions in debt and the death of this beloved family man. This is the first in a three-part series.
Life was good for the Sellmer family -- Wolf and his wife, Tricia, along with their three children.
Wolf maintained a successful accounting practice and took pride in providing for his family.
"It was good, although you don't really realize how good it was until it's gone," daughter Sara told KTW. "I went to a private school, I had horses, I did ballet, we lived in a gorgeous home. But my dad didn't just hand stuff over. He was always about hard work -- 'You've got to earn it.'"
Wolf and Tricia moved to Kamloops from the Lower Mainland in 1976. They owned a Langley pub, The Horse and Rider, until 1977, when their eldest son was born. The $150,000 profit they made after selling the pub was invested in a family orchard near the U.S. border outside Cawston, in the Similkameen Valley -- a property in which they maintained an interest until last year.
Tricia said she and Wolf lived a comfortable but busy life.
"We never had enough time together," she said, smiling. "He gave it to everybody else. He was incredibly generous. I never had to worry because he always had my back."
Wolf and Tricia moved their family from downtown to Rose Hill in 1978 and lived there until 1999, when they moved to an adobe-style home on Shuswap Road.
"He did everything," Tricia said. "I'd bring the flowers home, place them where they were supposed to be, next thing I know they're planted."
Tricia said her husband paid her way to complete her master's in fine arts through the Transart Institute in Berlin and New York in 2009. She also has two degrees from UBC and has completed art residencies in New York and Italy.
"I'd be going away and he'd say, 'Make sure you've got your American Express, your Visa, your passport,'" she said. "And he'd take me to the airport -- and he'd have the biggest smile on his face."
Tricia described her husband as someone who was always looking to help.
"He was there for everyone -- everyone," she said. "I never had to ask for anything. I'd never adjusted a thermostat, taken out the garbage. He just did things."
Wolf was also generous with his children. He went into business with his eldest son when they purchased a medical supply store downtown. He was also paying $10,000 a month to his younger son in the hopes of him becoming established in the Lower Mainland.
Sara, meanwhile, received financial help from her family in the form of a brand new riding arena and stable for her equestrian business. The total cost ended up being more than $800,000 -- money Wolf borrowed from private lenders to build on rented property.
"Looking back at it now, we lived a luxurious life -- but not crazy," Sara said. "Money, I had no idea of it, but it was always there. I never even paid my own credit card until now. Like, 'What do you mean I don't have $15,000?'"
Looking back, Sara said, her father might have been spread too thin.
"Absolutely that's possible," she said. "I think it was a slippery slope of things that happened. At the end, he was letting me rack up bills that I thought were paid and they weren't."
In the months before her father's death, Sara said, she began receiving threatening text messages from some families of Wolf's lenders.
"When I started getting the random text messages saying I'm going down -- 'You'll never make it in this town' -- then I just wanted it to be over," she said. "I remember looking at my dad and saying, 'If this is all going sideways, you can tell me.'"
Sara said her father remained stoic -- a sentiment echoed by Tricia, who said Wolf became sullen and withdrawn in the months before his death.
"He stopped laughing," Tricia said. "It wasn't him." READ PART 2 HERE READ PART 3 HERE