Girl and father found dead after hiking may have been murder-suicide

Father was in custody dispute with girl's mother and stepfather

Graig Graziosi
Wednesday 12 February 2020 20:27
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Parents of child found dead with father speak out

Murder detectives in Canada have launched an investigation after the bodies of a little girl and her father were found inside a nature reserve north of Hamilton, Ontario.

Robin Allan McLean Brown, 35, and his 4-year-old daughter, Keira Kagan, were found in the Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area on Sunday afternoon, authorities confirmed to CP24 News.

The pair disappeared after going on a hike.

Authorities reported that the pair died from a fall suffered in the park. Homicide detectives are investigating the deaths.

The girl’s mother, Jennifer Kagan, said she lost “her best friend”.

“Keira was the absolute most special girl you could ever ask for, my best friend, the most wonderful, kind-hearted girl, the most wonderful special big sister for this little guy,” Ms Kaplan said. “She had a shirt that said ‘I am going to change the world,’ and I believe that Keira truly thought she could, so now I am going to try and do that for her.”

Ms Kagan and her husband, Philip Viater, had been in a heated custody battle with Mr Brown over Kiera. Mr Viater has suggested that the death of his stepdaughter and her father was no accident.

“There was no reason for him to be hiking at Rattlesnake Point with our 4-year-old daughter at all,” he told the Toronto Sun. “This is not an activity they did together. We suspect that he took her and jumped off the cliff to kill both her and himself.”

Mr Viater went on to criticise the judicial system, pointing to multiple unanswered complaints he claims he and his wife made regarding Mr Brown.

“The system is fundamentally flawed. We told everybody of the problems with this guy and nobody would listen,” Mr Viater said. “We have been fighting him over visitation rights and custody issues for a long time.”

Mr Viater said he predicted that Mr Brown would do something sinister to Kiera.

“I said for three years he would end up kidnapping her, kill or at very least leave her psychologically scarred. Now my worst fears have happened,” he said.

On 28 January the couple sought an emergency order to prevent any further unsupervised visits between Mr Brown and Keria. Mr Viater said Mr Brown’s fear of losing visitation could have pushed him over the edge.

“He could feel the walls closing in. I think he believed this could be his last visit with her,” he said. “I believe his attitude was ‘if he couldn’t be with her, no one could be.’”

Around 45 officers from the Halton Regional police searched the park, which is a rugged natural preservation area.

“Due to the conditions tonight at the terrain in the conservation area, it isn’t your typical kind of search,” constable Steve Elms of the Halton Regional Police said. “It’s a large area. Very forested, and it does encompass a cliff as well as a bouldery area. The terrain is very rugged, very well tread and it can be slippery.”

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