'A senseless tragedy': N.S. police officer found dead, suspect arrested
Published Wednesday, September 16, 2015 7:12AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 16, 2015 6:57PM EDT
Police in Halifax have arrested a man in connection with the death of a police officer who had been missing since last week.
Supt. Jim Perrin told reporters Wednesday morning that human remains discovered overnight are believed to be those of Truro Police Service Const. Catherine Campbell. The remains were found in a wooded area near the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge at approximately 12:10 a.m.
The 36-year-old was reported missing on Sept. 14, and was last seen at a bar in downtown Halifax in the early hours of Sept. 11.
Police are treating her death as a homicide and an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.
"Catherine Campbell did nothing to cause what happened to her," said Perrin.
"Our focus is on what did and ensuring that the person responsible is brought before the courts."
Perrin said police arrested the suspect in a vehicle at approximately 1:20 a.m. Wednesday, in the Halifax suburb of Clayton Park. The suspect has "limited police involvement," he said.
The suspect is being questioned by officers, and it is believed that he knew Campbell, Perrin said. No other suspects are being sought at this time.
"All avenues are going to be exhausted in this," said Perrin. "We're, by far, not even close to being finished yet. There's a lot of work to do."
Police say there is no information to suggest that Campbell was targeted because of her job.
Perrin said video evidence was a factor that helped officers develop a timeline.
In addition to the area where Campbell's body was located, police are also investigating two homes: one on McCully Street and another on Chadwick Place.
In a statement issued Wednesday morning, Halifax police offered their sympathies to Campbell's family, friends, and colleagues.
"We express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Catherine Campbell at this extremely difficult time," the statement said.
Police Chief David MacNeil, said the entire force was devastated by the loss.
He had the difficult task of informing Campbell's parents about her death.
"I can tell you in my 22 years as a police officer, this is probably the most difficult day I've ever had to put in," said MacNeil.
Campbell had been working with Truro police since 2009. She had recently moved to Dartmouth, N.S. and had been commuting to Truro for work.
MacNeil said that Campbell dedicated her life to serving others, and "she made it her life's work."
"Her passion was helping people and this is just a senseless act, and a senseless tragedy," said MacNeil.
MacNeil added that members of Truro's police force "will have to support each other in the days and weeks" to come.
"We still have a community to police and we still have a job to do," said MacNeil.
"And we have professional people here that are capable of doing that despite this tragedy."
Dozens of people left cards and flowers at makeshift memorial in front of the police station.
Law enforcement officer Tara MacIsaac, who stopped to pay her respects at the memorial, said that Campbell's death was a "devastating loss for our community."
"She was an excellent officer and you know this work does is – it's just really sad," said MacIsaac.
Truro Mayor Bill Mills also expressed his gratitude for Campbell's service.
"We're very thankful that we've had her as part of our staff," said Mills.
"And … the pain on this is excruciating for everybody."
Campbell's brother-in-law, Calvin Garneau, told CTV Atlantic that Campbell was an "exceptional person."
"She was very friendly, very outgoing and very outspoken," he said. "She'd give anything that she had to help anybody else. That's just the type of person she is."
Campbell's sister also posted on social media that her sister had "gone home to be with the angels."
Campbell was originally from Stellarton, N.S., where the flag outside the town hall flew at half-mast on Wednesday.
The volunteer fire department, where her father was the chief and she served for 10 years, was also in mourning.
Capt. Terry McChesney remembers giving Campbell a pin for service in February.
"It's just devastating -- we lost a sister (and) a friend," said McChesney.
"We're all just really confused and hurt, and we really, really miss her and we're thinking about her family," he added.
Anyone with any information about the case is being asked to contact police at 902-490-5016 or via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
With reports from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell and Dan Macintosh