Saturday, October 17, 2015
We own a mile of Kemptville Creek. The shallow waterway runs along the edge of our 200-acre property along County Road 18 east of Bishops Mills. If you paddle your canoe up to our property line, you can see the bridge over the creek at County Road 20. This is where the body of a young man was found last week. That, as they say, is a little too close for comfort.
I first learned of the discovery through a friend who met the police roadblock on his way home. I went and spoke to the officer on site, who could obviously tell me nothing, except to say there was no risk to public safety. Neighbours closer to the site said they had heard there was a homicide on the bridge. Another friend posted a message online saying a local resident had found a body.
I wondered how the police could say we were safe in our homes that night. How could they know? Did they have the person responsible in custody? No, they did not. For the next two nights I awoke every time the wind moved a tree branch, causing the outdoor sensor light to flash on, and off. My migraine headache induced by too much indulgence on Thanksgiving flared and lasted all week long.
In our secluded location, on a bend in a single-lane dirt road, we often see dumpings of garbage and even hunting carcasses: geese, fish, even a bear. It’s upsetting to think that the beautiful farmland, forests and roadways we call home are considered a place to drop unwanted trash to others. Now someone has turned our peaceful rural landscape into a crime scene. Yellow police tape flutters in the wind where it stretches around the site from tree to tree, blocking vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Crime scene investigators and forensics specialists are on the scene for days after the discovery, taking samples, photographs, and video. Documenting the scene where one young man’s story came to an abrupt end.
On Friday, police revealed preliminary autopsy reports. They had an unidentified deceased male and the cause of death was not obvious. Further testing would have to be done. The description of his attire and grooming was a bit more city than country in my first impression. Maybe he was brought here from
Toronto, or Montreal. He had the name of a hardcore band
on his t-shirt, “BANE”. They played Montreal
last summer. If there was no sign of injury, did he die from drug overdose?
Heart attack? The police say the body was in good shape, so it wasn’t in the
water long. Tips have been flowing in from the public. Vehicles have been
spotted near the site in recent weeks – but they often are. There is a parking
area and a groomed path down to the water where people launch kayaks or canoes,
or send their dogs in to fetch sticks on a hot day.
Hopefully by the time this column goes to print, the dead man will have been identified. It’s hard to imagine he doesn’t have anyone looking for him. With today’s rapid network of communications between policing partners in
Canada and the US,
surely they will have him identified soon.
I’ve spent far too much time over the past few days, wondering who he is, what happened to him and who the people are who can fill in the missing links to the story. Like a self-diagnosing sick person, I am online doing research and investigation, looking for clues.
The police said one thing during the press conference that caught my attention. For the first time in my many conversations with police since this case began, when asked if there was any danger to public safety, she didn’t say no. She said they were treating the case as a suspicious death, and we should exercise personal safety. I went home and made sure all windows were locked as well as the doors.
Then I sat and watched the sun go down over the creek, the cows grazing in the foreground, black silhouettes in the twilight. The air was filled with the song of geese flying in, following the line of the water, their favourite place to stop for the night.
Posted by Diana Leeson Fisher at 12:26 PM