Warning: This story contains graphic details.

A relative of a Canadian couple who were killed at a popular Mexican retirement destination says the family is "in shock" over the loss.

Edward Kular, 84, and Nina Discombe, 72, were found dead Sunday by their gardener in a pool of blood in the living room of their home, Mexican authorities said.

"We're all pretty much still in shock, and can't believe that it happened. It's like a nightmare, a bad nightmare," the daughter-in-law, who identified herself as Christine, told The Associated Press.

Chapala city spokesperson Robert Arroyo said the man's head had been hit with a small statue and the woman was stabbed in the stomach with a kitchen knife.

Police told local reporters that the door of the couple's home was left ajar and that it was ransacked -- household items, money and jewellery were possibly stolen. The couple's two trucks with Ontario licence plates were also missing. Discombe's dog, Merlin, was inside the house at the time of the incident, but he was not injured.

Neighbours say the couple had left early Sunday morning to take friends to the airport.

"Someone could have been watching the house for that matter and when they saw people moving out with suitcases, it was probably a good idea to ransack the house when they wouldn’t be there," the couple’s neighbour, Leonard, told CTV Toronto in a telephone interview.

The couple, who were close friends and partners, spent their winters together in Mexico. During the remainder of the year, Discombe, a writer and an author, lived in Quebec, while Kular lived in a home in Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto.

Six months ago, Discombe had purchased the home in the lakeside town of Ajijic, a community well-known among Canadian snowbirds and expats. More than 15,000 Canadians live or visit the tropical town each year. Last month, Kular flew down to join Discombe in Mexico, where he's been spending his winters for the last 35 years, Kular’s son told CTV Toronto.

The deaths have shocked the lakeside community. Some local residents said there have been an increase in robberies. But despite that, others said it is still safe for Canadians to travel there.

"We feel this is a very safe community. We get along with our Mexican neighbours. They are as concerned as we are about this," Howard Feldstein of the Lake Chapala Society told CTV Toronto in a telephone interview.

Back in Toronto, Kular's neighbours were also in shock.

"He was a great guy. I’m shocked…I can’t believe he’s gone," one neighbour told CTV Toronto.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development said officials are providing assistance to family members and are in contact with local authorities.

"Our thoughts are with the family of two deceased individuals in Mexico. Canadian officials are providing assistance to family members during this difficult time and are in contact with local authorities," spokesperson Beatrice Fenelon said in a statement.

A community meeting with the residents of Ajijic has been scheduled by the state attorney general.

Police have so far not identified any suspects.

With files from CTV Toronto's Zuraidah Alman, The Canadian Press and The Associated Press