A 40-year-old man is facing a murder charge after the body of a 33-year-old woman was found inside a Cape Breton home.

Cape Breton Regional Police responded to a 911 call at the home on Obrien Street in Gardiner Mines around 12 p.m. Tuesday.

Officers found the body of a woman inside and arrested a man at the scene.

Richard Wayne MacNeil of Gardiner Mines appeared in Sydney provincial court Wednesday. He has been charged with the first-degree murder of Sarabeth Ann Forbes.     

“The Crown opposed his release, of course,” says Crown attorney Steve Drake. “There was some comments made on the record with some health concerns he may have when he's on remand. The defence council wanted to make sure they were taken care of if something comes up.”

MacNeil was remanded to the Cape Breton Correctional Facility and is due back in court next Wednesday.

Police say MacNeil and Forbes were known to each other.

People who live in the rural community of Gardiner Mines are trying to make sense of the situation. 

“Very shocking,” says resident Bill Campbell. “You don't hear that very often around here.”

CTV News spoke to people who knew Forbes, who describe her as someone who was always smiling.

They say her death is a terrible loss.

Forbes worked at the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board as a teacher’s aide. Her son is a student at Tompkins Memorial Elementary in Reserve Mines.

Students at Tompkins Memorial were kept inside the school for a short time on Tuesday. The school board confirmed Wednesday that grief counsellors were at Tompkins Memorial to talk to students and staff.

Cathy Viva, the acting director of programs and student services with the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, says a crisis team will be at the school for as long as they are needed.

“Some of them would have known this family personally,” says Viva. “Certainly the teachers know the student personally, so they would be dealing with a feeling of wanting to help, wanting to assist, and struggling to understand what happened.”

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore