Friends, family say goodbye to 4-year-old girl found dead in conservation area

TORONTO — A grieving mother read to her four-year-old daughter one final time on Thursday, as hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral of the girl whose body was found at the bottom of a cliff after a weekend hike.

Police found Keira Kagan and her father dead Sunday evening in Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area in Milton, Ont., under circumstances some of the girl’s family members describe as suspicious.

At the funeral, Jennifer Kagan read two of Keira’s favourite books: “No Matter What” and “The Runaway Bunny.”

“Keira, a part of me does not want to go on,” Kagan said through tears, standing near her daughter’s small, white casket. “I want to go to the edge of that cliff with you. I want to crawl into the coffin with you. I want to lie down with you the way we lie down each and every night.”

Kagan and her husband, Philip Viater, believe the deaths were a murder-suicide that took place amid a lengthy custody battle.

Police say the girl and her father, Robin Brown, went missing on Sunday afternoon after they went hiking. Police launched a massive search of the area during a severe winter storm.

Halton regional police have said they are not investigating the deaths as homicides “at this point.”

At the funeral, the family focused on Keira’s life.

She loved her eight-month-old brother, Joseph, and the two would play together in Keira’s bed on many mornings, Kagan said.

The girl loved poetry, rap and unicorns. She loved music — her favourite songs were “Be Prepared” by Scar from “The Lion King” and two songs from “Frozen 2.”

She also loved to dance.

“We would dance well past her bedtime many nights,” Viater said.

She loved to run and her favourite part of kindergarten was the “free play time.”

Keira also had a sharp wit, her stepfather said.

“I joked with her one time if she doesn’t listen, we’re going to return her to the baby store,” Viater said. “She immediately retorted she’d return me to the adult store!”

Kagan said everything reminds her of her daughter: her empty car seat, her pink coat in the closet and the cup of water by her bedside.

She now wears one half of a heart on her necklace. Keira is wearing the other half.

“Best friends forever,” she said, sobbing.

“When Joseph touches my necklace it gives me comfort, for I imagine playing with you and pulling your hair and you kissing him on the mouth and laughing, two beautiful innocent children just being happy.”

She said Keira told her last November that she didn’t want to be forgotten.

“Keira, you and mama will be together and love each other forever,” Kagan said as she looked at the small casket, “no matter what.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 13, 2020.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta confirms 28 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths

There are 28 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, bringing the… Continue reading

Community garden plots are allowed to grow again

Community garden plots allowed to grow again A modified community garden plot… Continue reading

Rocky Mountain House RCMP seize guns, more than $14K in cash after curfew check

Rocky Mountain House RCMP came upon an expected seizure Wednesday. During a… Continue reading

Visitors should stay home this long weekend, say central Alberta’s resort communities

Social distancing and other virus prevention measures must override pleasure trips

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Red Deer businesses still serving

BY PAUL COWLEY ADVOCATE STAFF… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Alberta announces extra $1B to create jobs repairing roads, bridges, schools

Alberta announces extra $1B to create jobs repairing roads, bridges, schools

Alberta doctors file lawsuit against province over changes to billing

Alberta doctors file lawsuit against province over changes to billing

Leafs’ Matthews hoping to take care of ‘unfinished business’ if season resumes

Leafs’ Matthews hoping to take care of ‘unfinished business’ if season resumes

No ice, big problem: Nothing mimics skating for NHL players

No ice, big problem: Nothing mimics skating for NHL players

Oilers forward Cave remains in medically-induced coma at Toronto hospital

Oilers forward Cave remains in medically-induced coma at Toronto hospital

Most Read