New Brunswick

'I will never not speak out again': Cindy McCormick killed in murder-suicide, says friend

Saint John dentist Cindy McCormick's best friend says police have told the family she is the woman whose body was found in a Lake Louise hotel room on Sunday and investigators believe she was killed by her boyfriend in a murder-suicide.

In hindsight there were warning signs before slaying in Lake Louise, Jennifer Gordon says

Saint John dentist Cindy McCormick was found dead in a Lake Louise hotel room and police believe her firefighter boyfriend Robert (Bobby) Kaine killed her in a murder-suicide, according to her best friend Jennifer Gordon. (Bayside Dental Clinic/IAFF Local 771)

As Jennifer Gordon struggles to cope with the slaying of her best friend, Saint John dentist Cindy McCormick, in Alberta last weekend, she has made a promise to herself.

"I will never not speak out again," she said. "I will never stay silent."

Gordon said police have confirmed to McCormick's family she was the woman whose body was discovered in a hotel room in Lake Louise on Sunday, and they believe it was a murder-suicide.

That's the trend with domestic violence, that people don't talk about it. People are scared to come forward.- Jennifer Gordon, friend

McCormick, a 46-year-old mother of two, died from multiple blunt force trauma, and her boyfriend, Saint John firefighter Robert (Bobby) Kaine, is the only suspect, according to Gordon, speaking on behalf of the family.

Kaine, 52, who accompanied McCormick to Lake Louise, where she was attending a dental conference, is the unidentified man whose body was found Sunday in a vehicle in B.C., near the Alberta border, she said.

"Hindsight is 20-20," said Gordon, who described Kaine as "clingy," "controlling," "almost obsessive."

"There were little hints of things that weren't right, but [McCormick] kept telling us that she was happy, and so you go with that.

"I wish that when I noticed things that weren't right that I had spoke out."

RCMP have only publicly confirmed that a woman's body was discovered at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise at around 2:40 p.m. after the police were called to check on the welfare of the occupant of the room, and that her death has been deemed a homicide.

They have also confirmed the woman's death is related to the "non-criminal" death of a 52-year-old New Brunswick man whose body was found in a vehicle on Emerald Lake Road at 11:59 a.m. MST and that he is the sole suspect.

Gordon, right, said losing her best friend McCormick, left, in a homicide makes the grief all the more unbearable. (Facebook)

Gordon said she and McCormick both knew Kaine their whole lives. They all grew up together in Nackawic, a town west of Fredericton with a population of about 1,000, and McCormick was a close childhood friend of Kaine's sister, she said.

McCormick and Kaine, who were both separated, started dating about two years ago. Within two months, Kaine had moved into McCormick's home.

"I liked him outside of a relationship with her," said Gordon, acknowledging he was well-liked and is also being grieved.

"But there was something about the way he was" with McCormick.

"He started off very carefree — 'I've known her all my life so I'm going to accept her for who she is.'"

There were signs, though, that that he "couldn't … let her just be herself and do as she pleased, you know?"

Argument about dancing

Gordon said she witnessed "a spat" between the couple at her son's wedding in Mactaquac, N.B., two weeks before McCormick's death.

Kaine was "really upset" about McCormick's dancing.

"She's a crazy dancer," Gordon said laughing, still referring to her friend in the present tense. "She wasn't being inappropriate." 

She was "just being silly," said Gordon. "Every time we went somewhere, she had a new move."

"She loved to have fun. She was the life of the party."

McCormick had told Kaine to leave her alone, that she was having fun, said Gordon.

She "looked at me and my friend and said, 'If it doesn't stop, it's going to be done, that's it.'"

'Scared to get involved'

Since McCormick's death, Gordon said she has talked to several other of her close friends who also had concerns but "were scared to get involved."

"When it's a 46-year-old woman who has her own business and is a mom and is a strong person, people are afraid to speak out in case they lose that friend completely," she said.

"That's the trend with domestic violence, that people don't talk about it. People are scared to come forward."

That's why she decided to speak out, she said.

"People need to be aware of the effects of domestic violence, they need to be aware of the symptoms and the signs in order to prevent it."

Gordon and several other of McCormick's friends are planning to hand out purple ribbons outside her funeral, the symbol used to raise awareness domestic violence.

"We are united — Team Cindy."

Karen Gordon, right, who said on Facebook she feels 'immense sadness for both families left behind,' has suggested Cindy McCormick's friends dye their hair bright colours for her funeral.

The funeral details haven't been finalized because of the police investigation. McCormick's family doesn't know when her body will be returned to Saint John.

But several of McCormick's friends are planning to dye their hair pink or purple or other bright colours for the funeral in honour of her ever-changing hair colour.

Gordon's sister, Karen Gordon, suggested the idea in a Facebook post "in celebration of her life as we say goodbye to our bright shining light."

Vigil planned

A candlelight vigil is also being organized on a date yet to be determined at First Lake in Baxter's Corner, one of McCormick's favourite places

"Cindy touched so many of us with her kindness and her joy of life," organizer and neighbour Sandy Stafford Morrell said in a Facebook post.

"We will miss her dearly," she said.

"She was very eccentric and fun like nobody I've ever met," said Jennifer Gordon, who grew up on the same block as McCormick, and attended the same school and church.

In their teens, McCormick went out with Gordon's brother for eight years and was at their home all the time.

"She was family to us."

The friends later served as each other's maid of honour, got separated around the same time and both returned to the dating scene.

Gordon remembers one night at a pub in Saint John when McCormick met a girl in the bathroom who was missing a front tooth. McCormick, who owned Bayside Dental Clinic where she practised, gave the girl her business card and said, "You come see me. I'll fix your tooth for whatever you can afford."

"She was just that kind of person, just so kind," said Gordon.

Jennifer Gordon said she and Cindy McCormick always had fun together, including a trip to Mexico. (Submitted by Jennifer Gordon)

McCormick loved the outdoors, was an excellent fly-fisher and bagged her first moose earlier this month. "She was game for almost anything," said Gordon. "She was very adventurous."

In 2011, McCormick was a contestant on Wipeout Canada, braving obstacle-based challenges dressed as "Atlantic Salmon Girl," vying for a $50,000 prize. She also applied to be on The Amazing Race and just last year, applied to go to space, said Gordon.

"I don't think there'll ever be another Cindy. She was just a bright light. Everybody who knew her loved her."

Gordon said the grief of losing her dear friend is difficult enough, but knowing she was killed is almost unbearable.

"You not only have to process the death and your grief, you have to picture the trauma that she had to go through," she said.

"I'm just trying not to think about it because when I do, I lose it for hours," said Gordon.

"She was loved. She is loved."

McCormick is survived by her children, a 13-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son, her younger siblings, Sarah McCormick and Jamie McCormick, and her parents, Richard and Diane McCormick.