“I never knew that I could or would ever feel pain like this,” Ben Kilmer’s widow Tonya shared on the Find Ben Kilmer Facebook Page at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.
It was Oct. 17 that she learned her husband was never coming home and it took some time to process.
“Since Ben went missing, I’ve said that it would be too unbearable to find him if he wasn’t still alive. Some might call this knowing, closure. I described it as ‘an eternity missing and longing for my love and my soul mate back, the father of my children.’ I realized, in an attempt to process this reality, that even though my hope is gone, knowing that Ben will no longer come home to us, a lifetime of agony and wondering only to leave to the same result would be worse.”
Tonya said she received the news from North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 9 p.m. when Staff Sgt. Kurt Bosnell and Const. Scott Harder came to her door.
“The officers said, ‘We promised you that you would be the first to know. We received a call at 2 p.m. today. Ben had been found. He is no longer with us. ‘His body was found by a man in the remote area of the Cowichan Valley, near the Chemainus River. We have been with Ben all day and we will go out there again tomorrow at the break of dawn. We would not be here unless we were sure that this was Ben and out of respect for you, we had to let you know right away.”
Vancouver Island RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Tammy Douglas said foul play has been ruled out and that the area Kilmer’s body was found was “well outside of the original search area.”
Comments of love and heartbreak flooded the post on the Find Ben Kilmer site.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Tonya with an education fund for the couple’s two children. https://ca.gofundme.com/kilmer-children-education-fund
The family of Ben Kilmer issued the following statement on the discovery of his body.
“We are heartbroken to confirm that our beloved Ben Kilmer was found on October 17, 2018, in a remote area of Duncan, British Columbia.
“Since May 16, 2018, we as a community have searched and prayed for Ben’s safe return. We want to express our gratitude now for the immense love and support from across Vancouver Island by the Province of British Columbia and well beyond those borders. Our community rallied behind us for five months to comb through dense wilderness; put up more than 100,000 posters; donate time, funds, and resources; and contribute heartfelt energy to finding Ben.
“It is our sincere wish that every person who was involved feels the value of that effort.
“There are no words to fully convey what this has meant to us, but we thank you with all our hearts.
“We want to acknowledge the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (especially RCMP members Cst Scott Harder, Staff Sgt Kurt Bosnell, Cst Jennifer Morgan, Cst Ville Lempenin, Chief Superintendent Sean Sullivan, and Cpl Tammy Douglas) for their remarkable dedication and service.
“We also wish to thank Cowichan Search and Rescue, Search and Rescue British Columbia, WestJet, the Canada Search and Disaster Dogs Association, Dave Hastie and Keith Duncan, Chris and Leigh Davies, countless printing companies (including Midisland Ink Depot, Tyler McLoughlin and his team at Better Print Victoria, Staples Canada, Copycat Printing and Design, Oak Bay Copy, Sooke Fax and Copy Centre, among others), Coast Outdoor Advertising, Ltd., Greg and Cody Adams at Sunfest Country Music Festival, many island stores and restaurants who donated supplies and refreshments, Graeme and Stacey Delousignan and the team at Canada Post, Shane Michaels at Winds of Mercy, media outlets who spread awareness of Ben’s story, and of course the thousands of volunteers and search parties who poured hours into this effort.
“Details for a private memorial will be shared with Ben’s loved ones. Anyone wishing to share their condolences with the family may do so on our Facebook page, find Ben Kilmer. For those who would like to honour Ben through a donation in memory, an education fund will be established for his two young children via GoFundMe (https://ca.gofundme.com/kilmer-children-education-fund).
“As we take this time away from the public eye to grieve, we ask for privacy and respect from the media and and the general public. It is our sincere wish that this be honoured.
The Kilmer Family will issue no further comment at this time.”