A loss of innocence
It’s the season for vacations, summer festivals, gardening and leisure.
The last thing residents of Conception Bay North were thinking about as they went to bed on Saturday, June 28 is that they would wake up to news of a violent death in the small, peaceful town of North River.
But that’s what happened last week, with news surfacing that Dale Porter, a man in his early 40s and a father of two, was killed during a violent altercation at his property on North River Road, near the intersection with Efford’s Road. Porter had returned home after a night out at a club in Bay Roberts. Sources say he was accompanied by three others, and the taxi driver.
He was discovered later when a second taxi arrived at his property with another group of friends, with the life slowly draining from his bloodied body.
The homicide drew a very heavy police presence to the town, as investigators dropped a virtual net over the scene and began an intense effort to find a suspect, or suspects. The road through town was closed for four days as specialists scoured for clues and evidence, volunteer searchers were brought in to sift through nearby wooded areas, and police conducted dozens of interviews.
Residents were quickly put on edge as speculation and rumours started to grow, and those who never gave a second thought about such things started locking their doors and venturing outside with a splintered sense of safety.
The uncertainty and fear was unwelcome and unexpected, and unfamiliar for an area not accustomed to such high profile, dramatic and deadly incidents.
And by late last week, despite the best efforts of investigators, police were saying that there were no suspects. However, there was solace in the fact that public safety was not an issue, with police offering assurances to that affect.
Not to be forgotten in the commotion was the loss of a man described by many as likable, quiet and helpful in his community; a man who, like all of us, had his faults, but was dedicated to his children and earned an honourable living in the fishery.
Did Dale Porter deserve to have his life ended in such a violent way? Certainly not. Will justice be served? We can only hope and pray. His family, especially his children, deserve nothing less.
Investigators have the weighty responsibility of proving their case beyond any reasonable doubt, in keeping with a justice system that presumes everyone innocent until proven guilty.
That’s why it’s important that the men and women tasked to help solve this crime receive unwavering support, co-operation and patience from area residents.
— Terry Roberts