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Canada 'It's bittersweet': Cassidy Bernard's family responds to arrest

19:55  04 december  2019
19:55  04 december  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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A member of Cassidy Bernard's family is feeling hopeful after the father of her young twin daughters was charged with second-degree murder more than a year after her death.

The 22-year old mother was found dead in her home in We'koqma'q First Nation in Cape Breton on Oct. 24, 2018. Dwight Austin Isadore, 20, was arrested Monday in the nearby community of Baddeck.

"A lot of hope, it's filling my soul, because this year has been so difficult. Not only for me, but the rest of my family," said Annie Bernard-Daisley, a We'koqma'q band councillor and Bernard's cousin.

"The anger, the resentment, the bitterness, the grief, the trauma. I had to put all that aside and refocus and try and put those negative emotions into positive reaction, just so it wouldn't consume me."

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a woman who is smiling and looking at the camera: Cassidy Bernard was 22 when she was found dead in her home on We'koqma'q First Nation on Oct. 24, 2018. © Provided by cbc.ca Cassidy Bernard was 22 when she was found dead in her home on We'koqma'q First Nation on Oct. 24, 2018.

One year after Bernard's death, Bernard-Daisley organized a rally along the highway outside We'koqma'q First Nation. She was also instrumental in bringing the discussion of missing and murdered Indigenous women to the First Nations Self Government Summit in Halifax in November 2018.

"It's bittersweet because we know Cassidy won't come back," she said. "But we also know that justice is going to happen, and it's on its way."

Bernard was actively involved in her tight-knit community of We'koqma'q First Nation, Bernard-Daisley said, and never missed a community event even after giving birth to twins.

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"She was a speaker of our language. She was proud to be Mi'kmaq. She was proud to be pregnant, and proud to deliver twins, and be the best mommy that she was," she said.

a group of people standing in a parking lot: Annie Bernard-Daisley organized a rally in memory of her cousin, Cassidy Bernard, on the one-year anniversary of her death. © Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Annie Bernard-Daisley organized a rally in memory of her cousin, Cassidy Bernard, on the one-year anniversary of her death.

Isadore is also facing two counts of abandoning a child.

The infant girls were found inside the home at the same time Bernard's body was discovered. They were not directly harmed when their mother was killed, but Bernard-Daisley said the abandonment was harmful in itself.

"If you were there and you held a five-month old baby, to your chest, inside your shirt, with anything you can find to warm her up," she said. "You saw the look in her eyes, you saw the dent on top of her head, a clear sign and indication of dehydration. Their lips were cracked and dry almost to the point of bleeding ... They were lifeless.

RCMP to provide update on investigation into death of Cassidy Bernard

  RCMP to provide update on investigation into death of Cassidy Bernard RCMP are planning to make an announcement Tuesday in relation to the death of Cassidy Bernard, who was found dead in her home on We'koqma'q First Nation in Cape Breton Oct. 24, 2018.Over the past 13 months, police have been very tight-lipped about the ongoing investigation into the 22-year-old Mi'kmaw woman's death, beyond that it was considered suspicious and not a random act.

"I'm not a doctor, I'm not an expert. But when I saw those babies that day, I knew they were probably hours away from dying."

The girls are now in the care of Bernard's mother, Bernard-Daisley said, and are "well-loved and well-nurtured."

a group of people walking down the street: Hundreds of people lined up along Highway 105 on October 24, 2019. The date marked one year since Cassidy Bernard was killed. © Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Hundreds of people lined up along Highway 105 on October 24, 2019. The date marked one year since Cassidy Bernard was killed.

While some expressed their frustrations at the lack of information given to the community during the RCMP's news conference on Tuesday, Bernard-Daisley said she's thankful for the care and time the investigators put in to the case.

"They worked overtime, they worked with their heart, and that was the most important thing," she said.

Even though they're a small community, Bernard-Daisley said the arrest in Bernard's death will carry "tremendous" weight in the discussions around missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across the country.

"This case has gone nationwide, and it's impact will be felt throughout the nation. There's a lot of joy in that."

a little girl sitting on a slide: One of Cassidy Bernard's 18-month-old twins at the rally in October. Bernard-Daisley said the two girls are being raised by their grandmother, Mona Bernard. © Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation One of Cassidy Bernard's 18-month-old twins at the rally in October. Bernard-Daisley said the two girls are being raised by their grandmother, Mona Bernard.

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