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

PanAmour, featuring some familiar Port Alberni faces, will perform online via Zoom Oct. 30, 2020 at Char’s Landing. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Cure the blues with PanAmour at Char’s Landing

Tickets for virtual concert available online

Pat Lauder laughs as car after car pass his home on Josephine Street and honk, the drivers shouting birthday greetings. Lauder turns 80 this year. Oct. 22, 2020 ((SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Hupacasath First Nation elder feted with family parade in Port Alberni

Pat Lauder celebrates 80 years in socially-distanced style

Mike Slaco, owner of Electron Metalworks, works on a large-scale piece of Tseshaht First Nation-designed artwork that will be incorporated into the side of the Harbour Quay Clocktower once it is refurbished. Slaco is working with the City of Port Alberni on the project. (RACHEL THEUS PHOTO)
Port Alberni’s waterfront clock tower will get a facelift in 2021

Aging Harbour Quay clock tower needs to be refurbished

Andrea Monticue and Herb Bruce will be the featured readers at Alberni Valley Words on Fire on Oct. 28. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Alberni Valley Words on Fire goes international

Spoken word event will take place on Fridays instead of Wednesdays starting next month

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

The Calgary Zoo is aiding in recovery efforts for the Vancouver Island marmot, an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)
Despite challenges, 2020 good year for Vancouver Island marmot population

In 2019, the foundation counted 60 pups; this year, it reached 46

Items seized over four days of targeted vehicle checks Nanaimo and Victoria by members of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU-BC photo)
Gang enforcement team seizes drugs and weapons in Nanaimo and Victoria

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. checked 33 vehicles over four days

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers, staff by parents must stop: Chilliwack soccer club

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

FILE – The Queen of Alberni ferry leaves the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta bound for Vancouver Island, Sunday, July 29, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam) CANADA
Mechanical failure leaves nearly 200 passengers stranded on BC Ferries ship for hours

A tug arrived after dark to safely nudge the vessel into a berth so travellers could finally disembark

Most Read