Thursday , June 17 2021

Kirk Keeping Charged with First Degree Murder on the Death of Chantel John



Kirk Keeping, 35, of St. Jacques – Coombs Cove, was charged with first – degree murder on Chantel John 's death, police said.

He appeared in the provincial court in Grand Falls-Windsor Friday by telephone and remains in custody in St. John's.

The next appearance in Keep's court is scheduled for January 30.

The RCMP said more charges could be made and the investigation continued.

This is a break upgrade. An earlier version of the story is below.

Chantel John is being remembered as a woman full of kindness, generosity and life – "a beautiful person, a loving person," said her friend and cousin Natalie Mackey.

"She deserved a long and happy life," she said.

The 28-year-old woman was killed in Conne River on Wednesday night, in what the First Nation of Miawpukek called a "horrible act of violence."

Chantel John is being remembered as a "beautiful person" who would do anything to help and care for people. (Facebook)

So far, police have just said that her death is suspected and is under investigation.

Mackey said he knew first that something was wrong when Mackey's parents called her home. She said her fiancé answered, and it was clear that something was not right.

"I think my whole body started shaking and I could not believe what I was hearing," she said. "All I could do was get dressed and get in my car. I called my parents and asked if they were real and they said they were still waiting for confirmation."

Mackey had to go through the crime scene on his way to waiting for the news with his parents.

Many in Conne River hung red dresses outside their homes, a powerful symbol for missing and murdered Indian women and girls. (Garrett Barry / CBC)

When the confirmation came, Mackey said he went immediately to John's parents – his aunt and uncle – "just to be with them".

"Everyone was standing there waiting, horrified, and just waiting, you know, in disbelief," she told him. St. John's Morning Show in a slow, hesitant voice.

"The moment they got there, she was gone"

Miawpukek First Chief of the Nation Joe Joe said he could not believe the news when he received the call from the band's general manager.

"The first thought was:" This may not be happening, something must be wrong, please check events again to be sure, "he said.

Police isolated this house in Conne River while the RCMP investigated the suspected death of Chantel John. (Garrett Barry / CBC)

He said that a former partner of John, a non-indigenous, entered the community with clothes that apparently belonged to her.

John was smoking with a friend in a shed when the man came in, Joe said.

"From that, I'm not sure what happened," he said.

"She managed to crawl from there to the house next door, where a young woman tried her best to save her and asked for an ambulance, [but] when they got there, she was gone. "

The RCMP is still on the scene in the small community, investigating what the police call suspicious death. 0:39

Red dress hanging throughout the community

John's family is "keeping up the best they can," Mackey said.

"Her parents are so hurt, but I do not think she's sunk even though this tragic horrible act has happened."

Like many in the community, Mackey has since hung a red dress in front of her house in honor of her cousin and in honor of all the indigenous women and girls missing and murdered in Canada.

The symbolic red dress, and the RCMP investigators, in Conne River. (Garrett Barry / CBC)

"The hanging of the dress serves to symbolize these women, so no one will forget that they are gone," she said. "It has become a way of educating people about the violence that is happening every day for many indigenous women."

It also helps show families affected by this violence that they have the support of their community, she said, "by letting them know they are not alone."

"When you go through Conne today, you realize that the most horrible crimes can happen right next to you, to the person closest to your heart, and it spreads through the community, the pain, the pain, the loss. support is unimaginable. "

Joe calls for more protection

Joe said more needs to be done to protect the people of the First Miawpukek Nation.

In the past, he said, the community has teamed up to banish a man accused of domestic violence.

Chief Mijoe Joe said more needs to be done to protect people in Conne River. (Paula Gale / CBC)

"We need to delve into this to see if we can do more of this kind of work. We're not talking about visitors, we're talking about people moving into the community, we need to know who they are." he said.

"We have good people in Conne River. Let's get together, let's see this, let's try to deal with it and try to put into practice some of the things we need to do."

Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


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