Nova Scotia

Catherine Campbell, homicide victim, remembered by Nova Scotia police

Hearts are broken in a Nova Scotia town after police made a grim discovery early Wednesday morning in a wooded area under Halifax's Macdonald Bridge.

Catherine Campbell, 6-year veteran of Truro police and volunteer firefighter, found dead Wednesday

Young Noah Ferguson wrote a note he brought to the community memorial in Truro for Catherine Campbell, it reads: "Sorry for your loss of Cst. Catherine Campbell. She is now helping God in heaven and watching over you all. R.I.P." (Craig Paisley/CBC)

Hearts are broken in a Nova Scotia town after police made a grim discovery early Wednesday morning in a wooded area under Halifax's Macdonald Bridge.

Catherine Campbell, a six-year veteran of the Truro police force and who volunteered as a firefighter for the past 10 years, was found dead in Halifax Wednesday morning.

Truro police Chief David MacNeil said he and the deputy chief went to Stellarton to deliver the news to Campbell's parents at around 2 a.m.

"I can tell you, in my 22 years as a police officer, this is probably the most difficult day that I've put in, for sure," he said.

"We're all family here. You hear that a lot and it sounds like a cliché that there's a law enforcement family but we firmly believe, in Truro, we have a special group of individuals that work here and she's going to be missed for sure."

Community mourns

6 years ago
0:33
A community is in mourning after the suspected killing of Const. Catherine Campbell 0:33

Flowers, cards and gifts have been piling up outside the Truro police station as news of Campbell's death spread Wednesday.

Truro Mayor Bill Mills said his town was devastated by the news.

"We extend our profound sadness to the family. This has been a big shock to our police service and our town staff. Everyone is associated with Catherine in one way or another," he said.

He called the growing tribute to her a sign of the impact she had on her community. "She was a very proactive police officer. She was congenial and talked to a lot of people," he said. 

"We're very thankful that we had her as part of our staff. The pain on this is excruciating for everybody."

'The pain on this is excruciating'

6 years ago
2:15
Truro Mayor Bill Mills said his town was devastated by the death of police officer Catherine Campbell. 2:15

Young Noah Ferguson wrote a note he brought to the community memorial. It reads: "Sorry for your loss of Cst. Catherine Campbell. She is now helping God in heaven and watching over you all. R.I.P."

'Her passion was helping people'

MacNeil said he's not surprised by the outpouring of support from the community.

"The people in the community here … [are] phenomenal. We have an outstanding group of police officers and staff that work here in Truro and that doesn't surprise me in the least," he said.

"Catherine's a person who wants to serve others. She made it her life's work and her passion was helping people. This is just a senseless act and a senseless tragedy."

Truro police Chief David McNeil and the deputy chief went to Stellarton to deliver the news to Campbell's parents at around 2 a.m. (CBC)

The outpouring of support and quick action to resolve the case on the part of Halifax Regional Police was also a relief, said MacNeil.

"I also want to thank the law enforcement community is Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I. for all their outreach and support," he said.

"And a special thanks to Halifax police [officers] for their phenomenal work on this file, bring it to closure so quickly so the family can get that closure and for our police family can get that closure — it's huge."

There are nearly 40 officers working for the Truro Police Service. MacNeil said grief counsellors have been brought in to help during this difficult time. 

"We're going to rally around each other. We still have a community to police and we still have a job to do and we have professional people here that are capable of doing that, despite this tragedy," he said.

"We need to be there for each other, we need to be strong for each other in the days and weeks ahead and to support the Campbell family."

MacNeil said Campbell will be missed. 

"Catherine … is an outstanding individual, excellent personality, a great police officer, a role model to a lot of our younger officers, always a smile on her face. Always willing to pitch in and help out. She's going to be missed by us all here," he said.

Missing persons file turned homicide investigation

Campbell was last seen in a Halifax bar on the morning of Sept. 11. 

On Monday morning, Campbell was scheduled to report for work but didn't show up. Her sister said that wasn't in Campbell's nature.  

Initially, police reported Campbell was last seen at her Windmill Road address in Dartmouth, N.S. However, police say further investigation revealed that she was at a bar in downtown Halifax in the early hours of Sept. 11.

Police are looking for Catherine Campbell of Dartmouth. Few details about where she was last seen have been provided by authorities. (Submitted by Halifax Regional Police)

At a news conference Wednesday, police said they suspected that Campbell was dead Tuesday afternoon and the missing persons case turned into a homicide investigation.

A 27-year-old Halifax man was arrested at 1:20 a.m. Wednesday in Clayton Park and is being questioned. Police have 24 hours to lay a charge or release a suspect.

No charges have been laid but police hope their investigation will lead to charges. Police say there are no other suspects at this time.

They believe Campbell and the suspect knew each other.

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