Authorities offer few details regarding deaths of Amherst, N.S. family of six
HALIFAX -- More memories are being shared about the family of six who lost their lives in what's believed to have been a trailer fire in Nova Scotia's Cumberland County over the weekend, but investigators are saying very little about what happened.
Drone footage from the scene in Millvale, N.S. offers little insight, with no obvious damage to the newer model travel trailer, children's bikes and other items outside.
Still guarded by police, the rural property is owned by relatives, earmarked as a getaway for everyone.
"We cleared the land on my property out in Millvale early this spring," Michelle Robertson’s aunt, Nellie Lloy, told CTV News in Amherst, N.S. on Tuesday.
"R.J. and Michelle put the trailer out there so we all had a place to go and for the kids to run free."
The children have been identified as 11-year-old Madison, eight-year-old Robert, known as Ryder, four-year-old Jaxson and three-year-old Colin, who the family called CJ.
It was CJ's third birthday a week ago, which is what brought the family out on Saturday for an overnight getaway.
Thirty-year-old Robert Sears (R.J.) worked for Gordon Food Services - a U.S. based company.
In a statement to CTV News, spokesperson Mark Schurman said the company was offering counselling to co-workers.
"On Monday, we learned of a terrible tragedy that took the life of our valued team member, RJ Sears, and his partner and their children. Words cannot express our heartbreak in receiving such news. We mourn for RJ and his family, their extended family and friends, and for our own loss of a friend and co-worker," said Schurman, who's based in Wyoming, M.I.
"For the people of Gordon Food Service, counselors have been made available to help us as we continue to process this tragic event. Working together, we will carry on our mission of service in the community, holding all in our hearts during this most difficult time."
Michelle Robertson, 28, was employed by Gables Lodge - a retirement home in Amherst.
It was her absence from work on Sunday that prompted someone to check in on the family.
"We were notified - someone attended the area and found the trailer and once they entered the trailer, they called the police right away," said Nova Scotia RCMP Cpl. Lisa Croteau, adding the police investigation is ongoing.
The bodies were discovered Sunday evening, although the news wasn't released until Monday afternoon.
Autopsies are now being conducted in Dartmouth.
"We can confirm the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service is investigating the deaths," said Nova Scotia Justice Department spokesperson Heather Fairbairn.
"Once complete, the results will be shared with the next-of-kin/ authorities, as appropriate. We can provide no further details... Our hearts go out to those affected by this tragic loss."
The provincial fire marshal is also investigating, but offering few details and declined CTV's request for an interview.
"This is a tragic loss and our thoughts are with those affected. The fire investigation is ongoing. We will consider your request once the investigation is complete", said spokesperson Krista Higdon.
Lloy says the plan had always been to leave the trailer on the property. The families weekend getaway was to be the last this year.
"They just wanted to go out to have one last family get together out there and celebrate little CJ's birthday there as a family," she said.