Harley Lawrence's death still wrapped in mystery
Berwick man died in a bus shelter fire in October 2013
It’s been more than three months since Harley Lawrence died in a bus shelter in Berwick, N.S., but most Nova Scotians still do not know how he died or the circumstances around his death.
The bus shelter where Harley Lawrence slept and ultimately died no longer stands. The town dismantled it last fall after the 62-year-old homeless man was found dead inside the structure.
It went up in flames around 2 a.m. on Oct. 23, 2013.
At the time, Lawrence's death was deemed suspicious. People who live in the small town have said they believe it's a homicide.
Chief medical examiner Dr. Matt Bowes won't speak about the case directly, but he said determining an official cause of death in a fire can be complicated months after the event.
“There may be a lot of tests involved even in that kind of death. But you know there are also situations where an investigation has information that only we and the perpetrator know, and this kind of information has to be held back,” he said.
Dr. Bowes said three per cent of the 800 cases handled each year at the provincial medical examiner's office are deemed suspicious.
He adds that sometimes a cause is never determined, including fire fatalities.
“A person's body can be completely consumed by fire in which case it is impossible for us to say anything at all about it.
When asked for an update on the case, the RCMP said there is no update and they won't be doing any interviews on the matter.
As the town waits for answers, a public meeting is planned for later this month.
The idea is to discuss how to move forward after the tragedy and delve into issues around poverty, mental health and discrimination in the community.