Hundreds gather in Stellarton to remember slain police officer
THE CANADIAN PRESS and CTV Atlantic
Published Monday, September 21, 2015 8:06AM ADT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 22, 2015 7:22AM ADT
An off-duty police officer whose body was found in a wooded area in Halifax was remembered Monday as a determined young woman who wanted to serve her community.
Hundreds of people attended the funeral for 36-year-old Catherine Campbell in her hometown of Stellarton, N.S.
Her father, Dwight Campbell, also Stellarton’s Fire Chief, and his wife Susan, watched as the procession made its way inside the Presbyterian Church.
School teacher Mary Martin says she brought her private school class because they wanted to show Dwight how much they care.
“We’ve grown very fond of him and our hearts and prayers are certainly with the family on this very sad day for our community,” said Martin.
The church only holds 450 people, so the large overflow was invited to the fire hall to view the service on closed circuit television.
Campbell was reported missing last Monday when she failed to show up for work with the police service in Truro.
Halifax police recovered her body last Wednesday under a bridge in Halifax.
Her aunt, Mandy Wong, gave an emotional eulogy, describing her as an adventurous person who had a gentle touch with children, often bending down on her knee to speak to them to ensure they weren't afraid of police officers.
"Catherine was always adventurous, and believed from an early age that women could do anything a man could,” said Wong.
Wong said Campbell has had an impact on many people.
"She never would have imagined the effect she would have," she said. "Catherine was brave and beautiful and sweet and strong."
Rev. Charles McPherson offered words of comfort to Campbell's family, and police officers and firefighters who attended the service.
"The shock of this tragedy has stunned our entire community. ... We cannot believe it has happened," he said
Members of the Truro police department thanked the public for their support, as well.
“It’s a sad day for policing and fire,” said Sgt. Blair Bannerman. “But we're here to celebrate her life .”
Twenty-seven-year-old Christopher Calvin Garnier is charged with second-degree murder in Campbell's death.
He is also charged with indecently interfering with a dead body.
With files from the Canadian Press and CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.