Nova Scotia

Wyses Corner fire victims' family trying to recover

A Nova Scotia family is trying to recover from an unspeakable tragedy that took three of their own.

Older couple and daughter killed; couple's grandson charged with murder

John and Peter Kozier with their grandparents Ida Raye Ward and Clifford William Ward. (Jennie Mae Roy)

A Nova Scotia family is trying to recover from an unspeakable tragedy that took three of their own.

An older couple and their daughter died in a fire earlier this month. The couple's grandson is charged in their deaths.

As the rest of the family grieves and asks why, a community rallies to support them when they need it most.

Codey Reginald Hennigar, 30, of Wyses Corner, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of 74-year-old Ida Raye Ward. He also faces two other charges of second-degree murder in the deaths of Clifford William Ward, 81, and Mildred Ann Ward, 54, both from Wyses Corner.

Investigators have said the deaths of the three Wards, whose bodies were found after a Jan. 7 house fire on the Old Guysborough Road in Wyses Corner, are homicides.

Brothers John and Peter Kozier say their grandparents and aunt touched a lot of people in the community.

"Everyone called them Nanny and Grandad, that's just how they were," John Kozier said.

"More than once, I told my grandmother how much she meant to me," Peter Kozier said. "She was my everything. She was awesome. Extremely miss them both."

Donations from family, friends and complete strangers have helped to raise $24,000 dollars to help pay for the funerals.

A GoFundMe page was set up and Peter Kozier says he was overwhelmed by what he saw.

No insurance on house

"My wife followed a lot of the account just to see if we recognized names and there's a lot of large donations just by unknown people," he said.

The was no insurance on the house and bills are starting to come in. The Koziers say the family now has to pay to clean up the property to make sure it is safe.

One of the things the family is doing is picking through the rubble of the house looking for any signs of mementos, photographs and memories.

The brothers say it is a task they will be at until the summer. One of the most special things they have found are the scrapbooks Ida Ward made, special because they came from her hands and her heart.

The community has been there to help and John Kozier says he has been overwhelmed and so thankful.

"That was the points in time when you really stopped to think about how the community does come together," he said. "How it's not just us that affected at that time. It's larger and it goes through the family...they kind of hold you up, they hold us up."

Just before Christmas, a spur of the moment family photo session captured one of the last images of the Wards.

The Koziers say the family now has to pay to clean up the property after the house fire to make sure the site is safe. (Jennie Mae Roy)

Ann Ward and her daughter Nikita showed up at the last minute completing the portrait.

"It was kind of a blessing in disguise," Peter Kozier said. "We got everybody together. She wasn't planned to be there, so kind of a miracle it worked out like that."

The memories of that day are in sharp contrast to the memory John Kozier has of driving up the scene of the fire on Jan. 7.

"Things run through your head and you're not thinking the worst," he said. "Oh my, their stuff, they had a wood stove in the kitchen, they were out."

The court process resumes Friday.

Codey Hennigar, the Ward's grandson and Ann Ward's son is in court facing charges of second degree murder in all three deaths. He's also John and Peter Kozier's cousin.

"We don't put much thought into Codey and what the situation is there," John Kozier said.

"Honestly, you just wait and hopefully justice prevails," Peter Kozier said. "People can get held accountable for their actions."

When asked if they will attend the court proceedings Friday, both say no.

"Do yourself a favour and pick your three favourite family members, Peter Kozier said. "Imagine them gone by someone else. Then ask yourself the same question."

The financial stress are still building, including funeral costs for three people, but the community is not done helping yet.

A benefit auction is planned for this Saturday evening at Shooters Bar and Grill in Enfield.