Calgary

Drug user hid body of 'gentle giant' in pond, after she woke up next to him

On Friday, Stephanie Outram, 34, pleaded guilty to committing an indignity to a human body, in relation to the death of Fletcher Kimmel. She was sentenced to two years in prison.

Stephanie Outram pleaded guilty to committing an indignity to a body weeks before she was set to stand trial

Fletcher Kimmel, 30, was last seen Sept. 27, 2016, at a 7-Eleven store in the northeast. (Calgary Police Service)

The family of Fletcher Kimmel say they will always have questions about his last hours, how he died and why his body was left to decompose in a K-Country pond.

Kimmel, 30, was last seen on Sept. 27, 2016, at a convenience story in northeast Calgary. His body wasn't discovered until four months later by a wildlife photographer in Kananaskis. 

On Friday, admitted drug user Stephanie Outram, 34, pleaded guilty to committing an indignity to a human body. She was sentenced to two years in a federal penitentiary, plus the seven months she's already spent in custody.

"We would hope that in due course and in the future you can become a contributing member of society," said provincial court Judge Gerry Meagher.

Crown prosecutor Shane Parker and defence lawyer James Wyman proposed a joint sentencing submission of two years plus time served.

Outram admitted in an agreed statement of facts that on Sept. 28, 2016, after a night of hard drugs and sex with Kimmel, whom she'd met on PlentyOfFish, she woke up next to his dead body and panicked.

She wrapped his body in a deflated raft, loaded him into her car and drove to Kananaskis, where she dumped his body in a pond.

Meagher said Friday that Outram had many opportunities to right her wrongs.

"At any time during that period of time, Miss Outram could have picked up the phone and made one call to 911 or the police and right this wrong. But it was not done," he said.

Meagher said he could not see Outram's drug addiction as a mitigating factor when sentencing.

"People who become addicted to drugs and then commit crimes cannot then hide behind their addictions," he said, looking toward Outram in the prisoner's box.

Victim a 'gentle giant'

Placing a framed photo of her son on the witness stand, Sandra Kimmel delivered her victim impact statement to the court.

Sandra emotionally detailed her efforts to find her son, and the hope she held onto that he would be OK.

"I would have done anything for Fletcher," she said. "If you're a parent, you'll understand this."

The last cookies I made for Fletcher were for his funeral- Sandra Kimmel, the victim's mother

Sandra said she missed her son's infectious smile and giant hugs, and most of all, making cookies for him.

"If you know me, you'll understand how hard that is," she said. "The last cookies I made for Fletcher were for his funeral."

Kimmel's father, Brian Kimmel, also spoke. 

Breaking down, he said the hardest thing to comprehend was the how and the why.

"How did he die? Why were the police never called? What was he doing? I'll spend the rest of my life worrying about these questions," he said. "The not knowing is the hardest part."

Kimmel's sister, Megan Hoffman, who lives in Kansas, submitted a victim impact statement that was read into court by Crown prosecutor Parker. 

"Fletch was a gentle giant," read Parker. "He was always the guy who would give you his last dollar, the shirt off his back."

Clad in a green sweatsuit, Outram hung her head as the family's statements were delivered. 

She did not address court, but Wyman spoke offering a "sincere apology" on behalf of his client. 

Outram sunk body in K-Country bog 

According to the agreed statement of facts, when Outram woke up next to Kimmel's deceased body, instead of calling authorities, she dragged the body out to her SUV.

Kimmel was six feet seven inches tall and weighed 240 pounds.

She wrapped the body in a raft and dragged it through her house and outside to her Toyota RAV4.

"A drunk neighbour assisted in lifting the raft/man into her SUV and told him that 'it was a dead deer in the tarp,'" according to the statement of facts. 

Outram then drove to K-Country with her grandmother, and Kimmel's body in the back. She put the body in a bog and stood on top of him to make him sink.

This information was brought to light through an undercover operation, where Outram shared the experience with undercover officers. She expressed remorse for Kimmel's mother, who was publicly looking for him.

It wasn't until four months later, on Jan. 29, 2017, that a wildlife photographer happened upon Kimmel's decomposing body. It was encased in the ice of a K-Country pond near the Jumpingpound Demonstration Forest, about 60 kilometres west of the city.

Kimmel's body was so badly decomposed, that an autopsy was unable to determine how he actually died.

About the Author

Lucie Edwardson

Journalist

Lucie Edwardson is a reporter with CBC Calgary. In 2018 she headed a pop-up bureau in Lethbridge, Alberta. Her experience includes newspaper, online, TV and radio. Follow her on Twitter @LucieEdwardson