Ben Kilmer’s disappearance in May 2018 sparked a massive search. His body was found in October. The BC Coroners Service has confirmed that he died by suicide. (Citizen file)

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Ben Kilmer, the Cobble Hill father of two whose body was found near the Chemainus River last October, died by suicide, the BC Coroners Service has confirmed.

Kilmer’s disappearance in May of 2018 sparked a massive search. His van had been found on the side of Old Lake Cowichan Road west of Duncan.

In the days and weeks that followed, dozens of volunteers conducted a ground search in the immediate area but there was no sign of the 41-year-old electrician. It wasn’t until Oct. 17 that a hiker discovered Kilmer’s body in a remote area near the Chemainus River.

Late last week, Tonya Kilmer asked the Chief Coroner, Lisa Lapointe, not to release graphic details of the cause of death for fear the information would be damaging to her two young children.

The Chief Coroner refused the request and on Monday afternoon the full report was sent to at least five parties that requested the document.

Kilmer had asked media outlets not to include the means or cause of death and it appears her request will be honoured.

“We have never published the details of a suicide before, and there is no public interest reason to start now,” Cowichan Valley Citizen editor Andrea Rondeau explained.

“While I think the public is entitled to information in this case, as the search for Ben Kilmer was highly public, it is enough to know that Ben Kilmer took his own life.

“While talking about suicide can be an important discussion for the community to have, knowing how someone killed themselves doesn’t really add to that discussion,” Rondeau said.

Scott Fee, news director at CHEK News in Victoria agreed the graphic details are no one’s business.

“We’re not going to dive into that, we’re not reporting that,” Fee confirmed on Monday.

CHEK posted a report early Monday afternoon and added a section relating to mental health issues and where resources to deal with mental illness can be accessed.

CBC’s reporting also refrained from reporting specific details.

After news of the imminent release of the report and Tonya Kilmer’s plea to the Chief Coroner was made public on Friday, the Citizen website and Facebook page was active with more than 130 people expressing their support for Kilmer.

Province-wide, hundreds of Black Press Media readers joined in the demand that the Chief Coroner only make a redacted report available.

If you feel like you are in crisis or are considering suicide, please call the Crisis Centre BC suicide hotline at 1-800-784-2433.

Other resources include: Canada Suicide Prevention Service at Toll free: 1-833-456-4566. You can also text 45645 or visit the online chat service at crisisservicescanada.ca.

Some warning signs include suicidal thoughts, anger, recklessness, mood changes, anxiety, lack of purpose, helplessness and substance abuse.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC ACORN to release Surrey housing report on Thursday

Organizers say the report contains steps on how the City of Surrey can “ease” the city’s housing “crisis”

Surrey firefighters battle truck, trailer fires in Brownsville

One man was take to Surrey Memorial Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation

Man rescued from overturned sailboat near Crescent Beach

‘Luckily he had a lifejacket on, that’s the only thing that probably saved his life,’ rescuer says

‘We want to help’: As overdose deaths spike, beds lay empty at long-term Surrey rehab centre

John Volken Academy searching for ‘students’ to enlist in two-year residential treatment program

White Rock Library re-opens with COVID-19 safety protocols in place

Fraser Valley Regional Libraries open with a number of new health-and-safety rules

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

UPDATE: Man injured in targeted shooting in Maple Ridge

Shots fired from one vehicle into a white Hyundai

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Wildfire near Harrison Hot Springs fire ‘out of control’

Blaze grew from 1.5 hectares to 10 hectares overnight

Anonymous letters tell Vancouver Island family their kids are too loud

Letter said the noise of kids playing in Parksville backyard is ‘unbearable’

Police lay out details of mental health response in Abbotsford over long weekend

APD officers assist mental health team for three hours yesterday, man sent to hospital with injury

Most Read