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.

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