We'koqma'q offering $100K reward for information on Cassidy Bernard's death
Bernard, 22, was found dead in her home on Oct. 24 and police have released little information
The chief of We'koqma'q First Nation in Cape Breton says the band will offer a $100,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for Cassidy Bernard's death.
Bernard, 22, was found dead in her home on Oct. 24. Her two infant girls were found in the house at the same time and are being cared for by family members.
"I have the full confidence [in] the law enforcement people but we feel, perhaps, with this reward it will bring forward that one piece of information they might need to resolve this case," Chief Rod Googoo said. "We felt [it] was very important ... to show support for the family and to assure our community members that we're doing everything we can."
Googoo said the reward would be paid out if people report a tip to Crime Stoppers or the RCMP and it leads to an arrest and conviction. As of noon Tuesday, Googoo said he had not yet spoken to RCMP about the plan to use the band's funds for a reward.
There are too many unsolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and the community's leadership wanted to ensure people in We'koqma'q feel safe and supported, Googoo said in an interview.
"In each and every individual case, someone or someones knows something ... We're reaching out to whoever might have some kind of information that's related to this case to come forward and do the right thing and help us," he said.
"We will not tolerate any kind of assault on our women — not in our community. And we will take every measure, every step that we can take, including offering up rewards to protect our community."
Police have released little information about Bernard's death other than it was suspicious and not a random act. They have not identified Bernard as the deceased, nor have they said whether they're treating the case as a homicide.
Last week, RCMP said police expected an investigation by the medical examiner's office to take several more weeks.
We'koqma'q is a tight-knit community of about 850 people. Googoo said people were becoming concerned with so much time passing and council decided to do something.
He hopes the reward will encourage people to come forward with even small pieces of information that might prove to be helpful.
"Whoever did this needs to be brought to justice," he said.
Bernard's "murder has devastated her children, her family, our community and the entire Mi'kmaw Nation," a press release from We'koqma'q chief and council said.
On Wednesday at noon, people plan to gather at the Canso Causeway to rally in Bernard's memory and raise awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women and men across the country.