Friends and family remember slain Saint John dentist

More than 100 people huddled together on a Baxters Corner beach overlooking one of Cindy McCormick’s favourite places while they remembered their friend with a candlelight vigil.

Mother of 2 Cindy McCormick was found dead in room at hotel, where she was attending conference

Cindy McCormick was born in Edmundston, studied at the University of New Brunswick and earned her dentistry degree from Dalhousie University. (Submitted by Jennifer Gordon)

More than 100 people huddled together on a Baxters Corner beach overlooking one of Cindy McCormick's favourite places while they remembered their friend with a candlelight vigil.

Police say McCormick, a 46-year-old mother of two, waskilled by her partner Bobby Kaine, a 52-year-old Saint John firefighter, while the couple was in Alberta.

Police discovered her body at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in mid-afternoon on Oct. 22. McCormick was attending a dental conference at the hotel.

Kaine's body was found around noon the same day in a vehicle west of Lake Louise. Police said his death was "non-criminal" and he was the only suspect in McCormick's death.

Over 100 people gathered on the shore of First Lake in Baxters Corner, N.B., Saturday evening to remember Cindy McCormick. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

On Saturday night, dozens of McCormick's friends and family members held a candlelight vigil on the shore of Loch Lomond in Baxters Corner. McCormick lived nearby and was known for spending her summers swimming and kayaking on the lake. 

Sandy Morrell said she came up with the idea for the vigil as a way to honour her friend and unite the people who loved her.

"I thought if we could light a candle and spend this evening together thinking of Cindy," she said "I think it would be healing for all of us."

Morrell said the large turnout on the crisp night showed how loved McCormick was.

People held candles and wore purple ribbons at the vigil for Cindy McCormick. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

Many of them, like Erica Grutzner, had a bright shock of hair tucked under their toques in memory of McCormick, who was known for frequently changing the colour of her hair.

"Cindy was the life of the party," said Grutzner. "The life of anything."

As soon as McCormick walked into a room, said Grutzner, people knew they would soon be having fun.

"You always felt important around her and she was willing to do anything for you or with you" she said.

Like many, Grutzner remains both shocked and heartbroken over her friend's sudden death.

"How could this have happened to her? The most strong, independent woman I've ever known."

Grutzner said she and her friends wanted to use this tragedy to help educate people about domestic violence. At the beginning of the vigil, a social worker spoke to the crowd about how to help loved ones dealing with domestic violence.

"We're here to support people that may be aware of someone living in an unsafe situation or maybe may be living in a situation themselves" said Kate Colwell, a social worker with the Horizon Health Network who works in domestic violence outreach..

Gretchen Kelbaugh said music was a big part of her friend's life, but nothing was more important to McCormick than her kids. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

Several members of McCormick's hockey team also attended in their "Moms in Gear" jerseys. Gretchen Kelbaugh said many people on her team were still struggling with the circumstances of McCormick's death.

As outgoing as her friend was, Kelbaugh said her two children always came first. "She really loved her kids so much," she said.

A memorial service was held for Cindy McCormick at River Cross Church on Oct. 30. On Saturday night, a vigil was held. (Fundy Funeral Home)

Kelbaugh said it was also important that the vigil marked a more cheerful part of her friend's life. She said McCormick's funeral didn't have any "Cindy music." 

"Music was an important part of her life," said Kelbaugh, recalling a tournament where McCormick brought along two karaoke machines. "So tonight we're supposed to be hearing a lot of her favourite songs" she said.

As the vigil drew to a close, (I've had) The Time of My Life played on a speaker as McCormick's friends began to leave the lake she loved.

About the Author

Matthew Bingley


Matthew Bingley is a CBC reporter based in Saint John.