Don’t for­get Dale

Mur­der vic­tim’s fam­ily wants his mem­ory kept alive

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

When Dale Porter of North River was mur­dered last June in his own drive­way, fam­ily and friends had no idea that more than a year later, there would still be no charges laid for the crime.

It has been one year and three months since Dale, who was a fish­er­man, died. His widow Tammy Porter ad­mits she of­ten still doesn’t be­lieve it.

“To me it’s like he’s out fish­ing and he’s go­ing to come home,” she said with a pause be­fore tak­ing a deep breath. “I just can’t be­lieve it some­times.”

In that time, the fam­ily has stayed quiet, ask­ing to re­spect their pri­vacy dur­ing the dif­fi­cult time. But now Dale’s wife and chil­dren are break­ing their si­lence, hop­ing to re­mind the public that he was a hus­band and a fa­ther, but also hop­ing his killer is brought to jus­tice.

Open­ing up

A tear ran down Tammy’s face as she re­called the mo­ment she heard of her hus­band death.

“I never dreamed, never in a mil­lion years. Never,” she said. “You don’t hear about some­thing like that around here. I shouldn’t need to tell my two kids that their fa­ther isn’t com­ing home.”

Although they were sep­a­rated at the time of his death, Dale and Tammy main­tained a re­la­tion­ship and shared cus­tody of their two chil­dren.

“They have been through a lot,” Tammy ex­plained, not­ing her chil­dren have to pass their fa­ther’s for­mer home ev­ery time they go to and from school.

She has since sold the home, but lives less than a kilo­me­tre away. And leav­ing her house draws stares and whis­pers from ev­ery di­rec­tion.

“It’s hard,” she sobbed. “I hate to go any­where. The gos­sip re­ally hurts.”

Ru­mours of the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing Dale’s death have been cir­cu­lat­ing not only in the town, but through­out the province. The only de­tails that have been re­leased are he was stabbed mul­ti­ple times and died from his in­juries.

“Peo­ple don’t re­al­ize that spread­ing these ru­mours and telling these sto­ries is hurt­ful,” she ex­plained. “And not just to me, but to our fam­ily, to our kids.”

Tammy ad­mit­ted she only knows for sure what in­for­ma­tion she has re­ceived from the po­lice.

“I hear the gos­sip too,” she said. “But I don’t know all the de­tails ei­ther.”

Even though she doesn’t have any ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion, she did con­firm the RCMP in­ves­ti­ga­tion unit told her mul­ti­ple times they have all the ev­i­dence they need, but no one has been taken into cus­tody and charged.

A great fa­ther

Dale’s daugh­ter, who is now 11, has fond mem­o­ries of her fa­ther. She cried briefly when she started to talk about him.

“When the stars are bright, daddy’s look­ing down at me,” she said, look­ing to­wards the ceil­ing.

Tammy wiped her daugh­ter’s tears.

“He’s with you all the time, isn’t he?” Her daugh­ter nod­ded. When asked what mem­o­ries she has of her fa­ther, the 11year-old gig­gled and said, “All of them.”

Tammy talks with her daugh­ter and her son about Dale fre­quently. They dis­cuss the good times and the many mem­o­ries. But sadly, they also dis­cuss sit­u­a­tions that would be eas­ier if Dale were still around.

Their son just turned 16 and re­ceived his driver’s per­mit shortly af­ter his birth­day. Tammy be­lieves Dale would have been a great driv­ing teacher — she can some­times be overly cau­tious.

“Dale was so easy go­ing,” Tammy ex­plained.

Some­thing to say

Ev­ery­where the fam­ily goes, some­one has some­thing to say. Whether they say it to them, or whis­per to some­one else near by, Tammy ac­knowl­edges she has re­ceived stares and glares from both peo­ple she knows and com­plete strangers.

Her daugh­ter loves to play bingo, and has ac­com­pa­nied Tammy and her grand­mother nu­mer­ous times. But the com­ments have been plen­ti­ful.

“Peo­ple stare and say, ‘That’s the lit­tle girl whose fa­ther was killed,’ and ‘Oh you look just like your fa­ther.’ She doesn’t want to hear those things,” Tammy said.

Un­for­tu­nately, ru­mours have caused the chat­ter to get worse.

Tammy tried to pro­tect her daugh­ter from the truth when Dale was killed, and told her he died in a car ac­ci­dent. Un­fortu- nately, a child at the school told her the truth.

“She came home so up­set, and I had to sit her down and tell her that some bad peo­ple did some bad things to her fa­ther,” Tammy said, wip­ing a tear from her own cheek.

Speak­ing out

For months there has been lit­tle public in­for­ma­tion re­leased. In April, RCMP said in a news re­lease that DNA anal­y­sis put the po­lice force “in a po­si­tion to act on these re­sults.”

When The Com­pass con­tacted RCMP Staff Sgt. Boyd Mer­rill in St. John’s, we were told there is no new in­for­ma­tion, but the case is still open and ac­tive.

Tammy feels the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her hus­band’s death has fallen to the way­side, and the only ex­pla­na­tion she claims to have re­ceived is, “We have to get our ducks in a row.”

“We used to go to meet­ings (at the po­lice sta­tion) al­most ev­ery day,” she stated. “Then it was ev­ery few days. Then ev­ery week, then ev­ery month.”

It has been five months since the last meet­ing, and she has taken her son to ev­ery one.

“He was so close with his dad,” Tammy said. “Ev­ery time there is a meet­ing, he comes along so he can be a part of it.”

The fam­ily is ask­ing the public to re­mem­ber Dale and what he went through. He lost his life at the hands of another, but he was a fa­ther, a hus­band, a brother, a son and a friend. He was known for not be­ing able to say no to a re­quest and was al­ways friendly with those he met.

“Yes, I want some­one to be held li­able,” Tammy said. “But, most of all I don’t want peo­ple to for­get him.”

Dale Porter

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