Falconer to be charged with kidnapping and murder

Staff ~ The News
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UPADTE - UPDATE  – 10:41 a.m. - Chris Alexander Falconer was escorted into the Pictou Justice Centre by Sherriffs and the RCMP.

Falconer, dressed in a dark green winter coat, didn't lift his shaved head as he was led through the back door of the justice complex. He arrived the courthouse in an RCMP vehicle around 10 am and is expected to be arraigned on charges of kidnapping and murder at 10:30 a.m. in front of Judge Del Atwood.

The courtroom is full with media and the public while some people remained in their parked cars outside the courthouse waiting for Falconer to arrive.

Falconer spoke calmly to Judge Del Atwood saying he didn't have counsel yet, but was talking to Mike Taylor of Halifax. A return date of June 18 was selected, but now Falconer has asked to return to court to set an earlier return date. He will return to court May 28.

*****

10:15 A.M. Christopher Falconer has now arrived at the courthouse in Pictou. He is expected to be charged shortly for first degree murder and kidnapping in the death of Amber Kirwan.

*****

UPDATE – 9:10 A.M. – Police have arrested Christopher Falconer and are charging him in connection with the murder of 19-year-old Amber Kirwan. A woman who was also arrested was released last night without charges.

Falconer is being charged with kidnapping and first degree murder. He will appear in Pictou court today at 10:30 a.m.

No other arrests are anticipated.

*****

“Today, we are able to announce we have arrested and charged Christopher Alexander Falconer with Kidnaping and First Degree Murder in connection with the homicide of Amber Kirwan,” said RCMP Superintendent Darrell Beaton, District Policing Officer for Northeast Nova Scotia.

Police arrested 29-year-old Christopher Alexander Falconer of Heathbell at Dorchester Institution in New Brunswick and will be appearing in Pictou provincial court today at 10:30 a.m.

Kirwan was reported missing to police on Oct. 9. Following an intense investigation and search that involved multiple agencies and members of the public, police discovered Amber’s remains on Nov. 5 in a wooded lot in Heathbell.

“Today’s charges are the result of a lengthy and thorough investigation using a wide variety of modern day investigative techniques and forensic science technology,” said Beaton. “We hope that today’s arrest is a step forward in the healing process for Amber’s family and the entire community.”

Police said neither Amber nor Mason appeared to know Falconer.

"To the best of my knowledge there was no connection," Beaton said.

New Glasgow Police Chief Delaney Chisholm said from the moment Amber was reported missing the community support has been overwhelming.

"Whether it was hanging posters, spreading the word through social media or searching the area where Amber was last seen, your efforts helped us tremendously and I thank you for that," Chisholm said. "Amber’s murder was a senseless and tragic tragedy that impacted an entire community. It shattered many people’s sense of safety and security. I hope today’s announcement of an arrest and charges will bring a sense of relief to the people of New Glasgow and the surrounding communities."

Falconer had been arrested for violating his parole in November and police confirmed he was a suspect early on in the investigation. When he was arrested he had a knife, marijuana cigarrettes and a .22 calibre magazine.

Prior to being released on parole in May 2011, Falconer had been serving a life sentence for second degree murder for a cab driver who was killed in Heathbell in 1998. Heathbell is also where they found Kirwan's remains.

The investigative team utilized all available resources from the New Glasgow Police Service, the local RCMP detachments in Pictou County and a range of specialized units from across the province and beyond.

Beaton said they could not disclose any details about what led them to Heathbell or how and when Kirwan is believed to have been killed.

*****

NEW GLASGOW – More information is to be made available today in the arrest of two adults Wednesday in connection with the death of 19-year-old Amber Kirwan.

RCMP released a statement late yesterday afternoon stating that two adults have been arrested in the case of Kirwan, who disappeared shortly after leaving a downtown bar New Glasgow in the early morning hours of Oct. 9.

A joint media conference between the RCMP and the New Glasgow Police Service will be held this morning at 9 a.m. where they say a significant update will be provided on the homicide investigation.

Brigdit Leger, media spokeswoman for the RCMP, would only confirm that two adults were arrested Wednesday.

A county-wide search took place for four weeks involving hundreds of search and rescue teams, police and volunteers who were looking for the missing teenager. Her remains were located in Heathbell on Nov. 5, and police quickly called the case a homicide.

The entire investigation drew nationwide media attention.

Shortly after the news broke that arrests had been made, news websites broke in with breaking news spots and social media sites filled up with posts.

Amber's father Donald Kirwan said he learned about the arrests while watching the news.

"It's a little bit of a relief," he said.

He added they don't have any other comments until something happens.

"To have someone charged means nothing until they’re brought to justice," he said.

Karen MacDonald, a night manager at Proudfoot’s Home Hardware where Kirwan worked, said the news is a relief to employees at the store who have been waiting for some kind of resolution in the case.

“This has been on our minds daily and has definitely been difficult. A lot of my staff on tonight are young and knew Amber,” she said. “I will be keeping a close eye on them and making sure they are all right.”

Sherry Blinkhorn started a reward for tips leading to whereabouts of Kirwan when she was still missing and later for information on her death. She said the arrests have been a “long time coming.”

“It’s about time, it has been long overdue,” she said. “I know the police and RCMP have been working diligently on this case even though people were getting more and more frustrated, but I am sure the police were crossing their t’s and dotting their i’s.”

Blinkhorn’s son was in similar social circles with Kirwan and said it didn’t take long for the news to spread among the younger generation.

Follow www.ngnews.ca and Friday’s edition for updates on this case.

Organizations: RCMP, New Glasgow Police Service, Proudfoot

Geographic location: NEW GLASGOW, Heathbell

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Recent comments

  • Kristal Fraser
    May 17, 2012 - 23:28

    Very proud of the police work in this case.We have been following it in Alberta all along. We are so sorry for the pain that Amber's family and friends are going though and hope that his conviction will bring at least some kind of peace.Our thoughts are with you all.

  • Ron Wray
    May 17, 2012 - 13:07

    Excellent news. Hopefully this case will be dealt with quickly, rather than turn into a media frenzy. Bravo to our local citizens who stood up and took action such as assisting in the search, putting up posters and such. My hat is off to the investigators from the New Glasgow Police Service and the RCMP. I can only imagine the man hours spent following each and every peice of evidence gathered during the investigation. To the family and friends of Amber Kirwan, I hope the news helps with your sorrow. God Bless you Amber.

  • Non-TH-Clingon
    May 17, 2012 - 12:43

    The coffee shops in the county & the social media sites will have to start a whole new round of story telling. Just when they thought they had everything solved along comes the truth. At least the police appear to have the right man.

  • Chris Fukes
    May 17, 2012 - 11:18

    I'm just hoping that this tragic murder will make everyone realize that small communities aren't shelter from such crimes. Arrive in a group, leave in a group. With the amount of drugs being brought into Pictou County, there's going to be crimes to follow. There's no such thing as "Never Gonna Happen".

  • GossipHater
    May 17, 2012 - 08:48

    Great news. Now perhaps all the speculators & rumour spreaders in Pictou County can apologize to those innocent folks who have been the subject of malicious gossip since this young girl disappeared.