Imagine losing your young son in a devastating fire. And then your other son disappearing, seemingly without a trace, until his body is found in a shallow grave.
And you think you know who took the life of your little boy, but no one has ever been brought to justice.
That’s the unspeakable horror that befell Bonnie Thomas, now a resident of Prince Edward Island, when she lived in Pictou County. This is one of the most heartbreaking mysteries I’ve ever heard about:
Kevin was 13 the day in May he had run away from his house on MacKay Street in Stellarton. It wasn’t the first time he had left home without permission and his family had no reason to believe it would be his last. According to retired Stellarton police officer Hugh Muir, who became involved in the case early, Martin had fallen in with a bad crowd about six months to a year before this day. Muir was familiar with Kevin because he had gone to school with Muir’s older boys, and remembers him as a nice, polite kid.
Thomas recalls how Kevin had been bullied at school and craved acceptance. He wanted to be part of the cool kids and so when they skipped school, he did too.
“He was a great kid. He just got in with the wrong group of kids,” Thomas said. “He was a follower.”
A few years earlier Kevin had also lost his older brother Olin in a house fire. They had only been 10-months apart in age and shared a room. The fire was determined to be have been caused accidentally, but had a lasting effect on Kevin.
“I don’t think Kevin ever got over losing Olin,” says their mother.
Then came a degree of closure they had hoped not to find. Commercial loggers working in the Burnside area of Colchester County – near Upper Stewiacke – discovered Kevin’s remains buried in a shallow grave. While police have never released how they believe the teen died, physical evidence found at the scene was enough to determine his death was a homicide. They believe he was killed shortly after he disappeared in 1994.
While he’s no longer involved in the investigation, Muir personally thinks there had to be more than one person involved, particularly to dispose of the body. He believes the people responsible also likely had a familiarity with the area where Kevin’s body was found. He is sure there are people still alive with information that could solve the case and prays they think of a 13-year-old being brutally murdered and of a family still suffering without answers.
“He would have been possibly married and a father of his own now,” Muir said.
Thomas is confident she knows who the guilty people are. Based on information she said someone gave her and that was passed on to police, she believes there were three people directly involved.
The News spoke with that person who gave Thomas and police the tip. Her first name is Debbie, but she requested her last name not be used. Debbie says her information came from a relative who says she knows the people responsible, where it happened and how. Debbie said she’s shared what she knows with police, but to date no arrests have been made.
Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers has posted a reward of up to $150,000.00 for information that leads to the killer’s arrest and conviction. In an era where many long-dormant cold cases are finally being solved, thanks to technological advances and determined investigators, hopefully justice for Kevin will be done.