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Death of missing woman, 3-year-old boy still under investigation: N.S. police

Click to play video: 'Woman, 3-year-old child found dead in N.S. missing persons case'
Woman, 3-year-old child found dead in N.S. missing persons case
The Nova Scotia RCMP says the search for a toddler who went missing with a woman over the weekend has come to a tragic end. The remains of a 36-year-old woman and a three-year-old boy were recovered Tuesday. Amber Fryday reports – Feb 27, 2024

Police in Nova Scotia have clarified that a 36-year-old woman and three-year-old boy who were found dead Tuesday were last seen at a residence on Ruth Falls Road in the early hours of Saturday morning.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Guillaume Tremblay said investigators believe the two were on foot at the time of their disappearance in the community of Ruth Falls, which is located about 120 kilometres northeast of Halifax, as the woman’s vehicle wasn’t missing.

“We certainly did factor in that she could’ve been picked up, and there were multiple discussions back and forth yesterday morning if she was picked up or not,” he said. “The information gathered indicated that they were in the vicinity on foot.”

Earlier Tuesday afternoon, the RCMP initially said the 36-year-old woman, named Holly Cooper, was found dead but the search for the toddler, Lucas Robert Cooper, was continuing.

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Just before 2 p.m. Tuesday, police said the boy was also found dead, close to the woman’s remains.

“At this time, the death is not believed to be suspicious in nature; however; the investigation is ongoing,” police said in a release.

The two were said to be found on the shoreline of a body of water close to where they went missing.

Tremblay confirmed the individuals were first reported missing at 6 p.m. Monday evening.

He said investigators haven’t uncovered any details that would suggest the weekend’s heavy rainfall or winds played a role in their deaths.

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“The investigation is still ongoing so we’re gathering as much as details as possible. It’d be a guess if I was to say anything to speculate,” he said, adding that investigators don’t believe the incident to be suspicious at the time.

“But the investigation is ongoing with the medical examiner service. An autopsy will be taking place on the remains and should there be any development or any change in that status, we would be issuing an update.”

Police wouldn’t confirm the relationship between the woman and the toddler, but social media posts indicate they were mother and child.

“The privacy act stops me from providing any relationship status between individuals. However, I can tell you that they were known to each other,” Tremblay said.

“Our thoughts are definitely with the families. A very difficult time for them, very tragic. It’s certainly hard for first responders, ground search and rescue teams, who were out there physically searching for the missing … it takes a toll on the first responders.”

The Milbrook First Nation Health Centre issued a statement on Wednesday morning saying the Confederation of Mainland Mi’kmaq (CMM) will be offering two of their support workers for the Sheet Harbour Community, which is located near Ruth Falls, in response to the deaths of Holly Cooper and Lucas Cooper.

“They will be available to provide emotional support, culturally-relevant care and serve as a connection for referrals to culturally-attentive mental health providers,” the organization said in a social media post, adding that the two will be present at the nearby Millbrook Fisheries office between 12 to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

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