Tonya Kilmer (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

Your say: Public agrees media was right to rally behind Tonya Kilmer

Details of Ben Kilmer’s death should be private

In the months, weeks and days leading up to the British Columbia Coroners Service’s plans to release details of her husband’s death, Tonya Kilmer never gave up. Backed by the same massive community support that helped her scour the Island and beyond for Ben Kilmer last spring, summer and fall, Tonya worked tirelessly to keep some of the information private. Her aim was to protect her children.

SEE RELATED: Chief Coroner’s decision to release Kilmer report unwise

SEE RELATED: Tonya Kilmer fighting to block release of coroner’s report

SEE RELATED: Coroner’s report confirms suicide in Kilmer case

When they are older and if they ask me, I would tell them the details could be very painful and are they sure they want to know,” she said.

Some of our readers didn’t know, read more than the headlines, or care to understand, that it’s back in the news only because the Coroner had completed the final report and being bound by Section 69 of the Coroners Act, it would then be available to those who requested it.

Requests had been made.

“This is private. The family didn’t want this info released, and they should have respected their wishes,” wrote Mo Blake.

“Mo Blake, they didn’t release anything other than the cause of death. Given the scale of the search and public involvement I would say the fact he took his own life is newsworthy at the very least,” replied Jason Gallaugher.

“Suicide should not be hidden; if more families were willing to share their stories it could help prevent others from experiencing the same sate,” wrote Natalie J Penner McCallum. “This is a tragedy that is not shameful. So very sorry for his friends and family.”

Tonya understood that given the high profile search and the sheer number of people involved, her husband’s cause of death seemed impossible to conceal and important — even educational and potentially life-saving — to release. But the method? Well, that’s nobody’s business. Tonya asked the Citizen to help spread the word to petition the Coroner to block the disturbing details. When they didn’t, we did.

“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.

After the release of the report on June 17, many of the various media outlets that had been following the story since the beginning agreed not to share the method.

“Thank you; we don’t need the details. We all hoped for a happier outcome and the family has enough grief,” wrote Brenda Vin on Facebook.

“So glad they are not releasing details, none of our business. So hard for the family,” added Jo-Anne Stuart.

“So glad they are not releasing details, none of our business. So hard for the family,” added Jo-Anne Stuart.

“It was a very public situation and having a public sense of closure is of course important; thank you for not sensationalizing this sad event by publishing unnecessary details or graphics,” wrote Greg Abbott. “Condolences once again to the family. Really hoping they find a sense of closure and some peace.”

“So sad that the coroner denied Tonya’s request, but very proud of the news papers to listen to a grieving widow,” wrote Kelly Dods.

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

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

Just Posted

Water in Lake Cowichan just fine, says acting mayor

Tim McGonigle said there is no truth to rumours of water advisories

Cowichan Caps help BCHL score commitment record

The BCHL saw 172 players commit to post-secondary institutions this past season

Murray Hatfield and Teresa present evening of magic and comedy streaming live May 29

The Duncan Volunteer Fire Department is inviting you to an evening of magic and comedy

Chemainus animal sanctuary needs your vote in nationwide contest

RASTA is up for $5,000 from Nutram; contest runs until May 31

Woman charged in fatal accident back in court on June 2

Sara Rosetta Thomas faces six charges in 2018 incident

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Most Read