RCMP lays mur­der charge in Conne River death

Ex-boyfriend ac­cused of killing woman

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - FRONT PAGE - [email protected]­gram.com

Kirk Keep­ing, 35, has been charged with first-de­gree mur­der in the death of 28-year-old Chantel John of Conne River.

The Royal Cana­dian Mounted Po­lice say they ar­rested Keep­ing, who hails from nearby St. Jac­ques, late Thurs­day.

Keep­ing, who is John’s exboyfriend, ap­peared be­fore a provin­cial court judge in Grand Falls-windsor via tele­con­fer­ence. He remains in cus­tody, with his next court ap­pear­ance set for Jan. 30.

“This is noth­ing ran­dom — they were known to each other,” said RCMP Cpl. Jo­lene Gar­land.

In a state­ment on its web­site, the Mi­aw­pukek Mi’ka­mawey Mawi’omi First Na­tion said her death on Wed­nes­day il­lus­trates the on­go­ing na­tional cri­sis of mur­dered and miss­ing Indige­nous women.

The First Na­tion en­cour­aged any­one wish­ing to show sup­port for John’s fam­ily to wear red.

Red dresses have be­come a sym­bol of mur­dered and miss­ing Indige­nous women in Canada.

Mi­aw­pukek Chief Mi’sel Joe said the en­tire com­mu­nity is griev­ing for John, who was a mem­ber of Joe’s fam­ily through adop­tion.

He de­scribed her Thurs­day as a quiet and re­spect­ful per­son.

“Right now ev­ery­body is in a bit of a shock and the whole com­mu­nity is un­der a dark cloud try­ing to deal with this tragedy,” Joe said.

In a Face­book post, the First Na­tion em­pha­sized the im­pact of John’s loss on the com­mu­nity.

“Such vi­o­lence does not hap­pen in small, ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. We are fam­ily, we are friends who are try­ing to deal with the mur­der of a young Indige­nous women,” it said.

It said her death “has hit home that the MMIWG cri­sis has no bound­aries.”

“(Her) death adds to the grow­ing num­ber of Cana­dian Indige­nous women who are dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fected by all forms of vi­o­lence,” the post read. “Over the com­ing days and weeks, we will do our best to sup­port and com­fort each other as this shock re­ver­ber­ates through our fam­i­lies and com­mu­nity.”

The RCMP’S ma­jor crimes sec­tion and the Of­fice of the Chief Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the death.

Po­lice say more charges are pos­si­ble.

JOE GIB­BONS/THE TELEGRAM

The Mi­aw­pukek Mi’ka­mawey Mawi’omi First Na­tion has asked peo­ple across the prov­ince to wear red or dis­play red in ob­ser­vance of the tragic death of Conne River res­i­dent Chan­tal John, who was killed Wed­nes­day night. On Fri­day af­ter­noon, a red dress hung out­side a home on Beau­mont Street in St. John’s.

John

Keep­ing

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