The family of a four-year-old girl who was found dead after going on a hike with her father over the weekend in Milton describes her as “the absolutely most special girl you could ever ask for.”
The mother and stepfather identified their daughter Keira Kagan and her father Robin Allan McLean Brown to Global News Monday, hours after Halton Regional Police broke the news the two were found dead in Rattlesnake Point.
Police said the father and his daughter had arrived at the conservation area between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. and were expected to be back by 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. The bodies were found just after 11 p.m.
Philip Viater, Keira’s stepfather, told Global News they received a call at around 9:45 p.m. from police telling them there was a missing person’s report for Brown and Keira.
Viater said he was immediately concerned because “there was a lot of court activity going on” involving Brown. He said they were due back in court at the end of the month to discuss things, including whether Brown should have access to his daughter and whether it should be supervised or not.
The stepfather called the situation a “downward spiral.”
The family’s lawyer Robert Karras told Global News the incident is an example of the system failing.
“This is truly a case where the family law system despite all of the efforts of Keira’s mother and stepfather and well as various lawyers that have assisted them throughout this case, has failed this child,” he said.
Keira’s mother, Jennifer Kagan, told Global News her daughter was her best friend and the “most wonderful, kind-hearted girl.”
“The most tender and sweet big sister … just absolutely resilient, smart and spunky,” she said. “She had a shirt that said ‘I’m going to change the world’ and I believe that Keira truly thought she could, she was that sort of girl.
Jennifer said at four, Keira already knew she wanted to make a difference in the world.
“The fact that her life has been so tragically cut short is terrible,” she said.
Through tears, Viater described dropping Keira off for school Friday, saying he always told her that her and her younger brother were his “No. 1s.”
He said he then kissed her and hugged her and said, “I’ll see you Monday.”
Viater said to the best of his knowledge that Brown had never taken Keira to Rattlesnake Point in the past.
“Keira doesn’t hike, she’s four,” he said. “How he knows about it, I don’t know, he’s primarily in the Halton Region.”
On Monday, media relations Const. Ryan Anderson told reporters “there were significant trauma on the victims that could be consistent with a fall.”
He said the investigation is being held by the homicide unit who is called in for any death of a child under the age of five.
Anderson said it is not being considered a homicide at this time, however, police are not ruling anything out.
The investigation is ongoing and a post-mortem will be conducted.
“This is just a heartbreaking situation and when we began the search last night it’s certainly not the outcome we were looking for, it was the outcome we were dreading,” Anderson said.