The B.C. Coroners Service has released details about the death of a man who went missing last summer near Duncan, B.C.
Benjamin John Kilmer, a 41-year-old electrician from Cobble Hill and father of two children, was reported missing on May 16, 2018, after his van was found abandoned and running on Cowichan Lake Road west of Duncan.
Several months later, RCMP announced that a hiker discovered his remains in a remote area near Chemainus River on October 17 by a hiker. Evidence suggested he had made a camp at the location. Foul play was ruled out and the B.C. Coroner Service took over the case.
The B.C. Coroners Service released a report on June 17, stating that Kilmer died of asphyxiation and that the death was a suicide.
According to the report, he had been receiving treatment from a family physician for stress and anxiety but had not expressed any suicidal thoughts.
A small amount of blood that had been found in his van was found to be Kilmer’s but was determined to be linked to an injury unrelated to his death.
Tonya Kilmer, his wife, had been attempting to block the B.C. Coroners Service from releasing the report due to concerns about the impact upon her children and family if the details of his death were released.
However, the B.C. Coroners Service stated that after “careful consideration of the issues raised and the requirements of the legislation”, the chief coroner found that “the public interest in the disclosure outweighed the personal privacy of the deceased in this instance”. The B.C. Coroners Service also stated that the report “establishes the facts, addresses speculation, and quiets the public imagination”.
Kilmer’s disappearance happened to coincide with the disappearance of two men, who were last seen docking their boat in Ucluelet on May 16 on the opposite coast of Vancouver Island.
Although search efforts were coordinated on Vancouver Island for the men, no connection was suggested or established between the Kilmer case and the disappearance of 37-year-old Daniel Archibald and 43-year-old Ryan Daley.
Their bodies were located in June and their deaths are being investigated as a homicide. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency was reported to be assisting the investigation.
If you or someone you know is experiencing depressive or suicidal thoughts, some options for resources include talking to a healthcare professional, such as a doctor, psychologist, or counsellor. If in crisis, contact 911 or go to a hospital immediately.
The Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of B.C. offers 24-hour phone and online distress services (as well as community education). The Crisis Line Association of B.C. (1-800-784-2433) provides 24-hour service for individuals across the province.
Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) is a national service for children and teenagers.