Arrest made in Cassidy Bernard case

Photos by Drake Lowthers -- Cassidy Bernard’s now 18-month-old daughters Paisley, (right), and Mya hold a “Justice for Cassidy” sign during the memorial rally on October 24.

WAYCOBAH FIRST NATION: Cassidy Bernard’s former partner has been charged in connection with her death more than a year ago.

This morning, Nova Scotia RCMP confirmed that Bernard’s ex-boyfriend, 20-year-old Dwight Austin Isidore of Wagmatcook First Nation, was arrested yesterday and charged with one count of second degree murder and two counts of child abandonment, in connection with Bernard’s death.  

The investigation was led by the RCMP’s Northeast Nova Major Crimes Unit, as well as specialized RCMP units and investigators from across the province.

“We are very pleased to share this outcome with Cassidy’s family. This is what we have been working towards,” says Sgt. Glenn Bonvie, Acting Officer in Charge of Nova Scotia RCMP Major Crimes Unit. “Our hope is that today is a step forward in the healing process for the family and the entire community.”

Isadore was arrested without incident and was transported to the Inverness District RCMP Detachment. He is scheduled to appear in Port Hawkesbury Provincial Court today.

This release of information came after the RCMP remained tight-lipped for more than year after the  death of the 22-year-old from We’koqma’q First Nation which was first reported to the RCMP on October 24, 2018.

Despite calling it “a suspicious death,” and unable to provide information on the identity of the victim, or provide an update until the RCMP received the autopsy report – which they confirmed receiving in April 2019 – the RCMP did not release any additional information on the case that they called a complicated, technical investigation.

Following the successful red dress initiative organized by Bernard’s cousin, three-term band councillor Annie Bernard-Daisley last year, family, friends and members from all five First Nation communities across Cape Breton marched together in solidarity across the Canso Causeway, with more than 400 demonstrators marching to the beat of a single drum as they waved flags and memorial posters.

Last May, Isadore was questioned by RCMP but was later released without charges. Isadore is facing two charges from a November 2, 2018 incident – after Bernard’s death – of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm and uttering threats to damage property.

On September 23, band officials in We’koqma’q issued a notice banning Isadore from the community and they notified the RCMP.

On the first anniversary of Bernard’s death, October 24, her family hosted a memorial event along the Skye River Trail. Lining up on both sides of the highway with red dresses, posters and banners; they stood for an hour and 12 minutes; one second for the estimated 4,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women and 365 seconds extra for everyday they waited for justice.