By Heather Killen
The irony of living in a small town meant that Garnet Keddy was the last to hear the rumour that his younger brother David had been found brutally murdered and left floating on a wooden raft in the Annapolis River.
David Andrew Keddy, 31, of Bloomington had been missing for two about days. Garnet and wife Shirley say they had just walked in the door around 10 p.m. on the night of June 5, 1987, when one of David’s friends called and asked them if it was true that his body had been found on raft. They didn’t even know he had been missing.
“It seems everybody knew more about it then we did,” said Shirley Keddy. “People kept coming up to us after, telling us these stories. I heard all sorts of things about Hells Angels, drugs, and strippers.”
The Keddys admit they weren’t close to David before he was murdered 25 years ago, but it doesn’t stop them from wanting to know what happened to him, or who recently put flowers on his grave. For them, life changed the moment they picked up the telephone and first heard the story about the raft.
Standing In Shock
The next thing they knew they were standing in shock at the morgue, struggling to identify a body. From there they have been left to only imagine what could have happened to David and listen to the stories people tell of what they think happened.
“People wonder why I care, I’m only a sister-in-law,” she said. “I guess I was a young mother with two small kids. I often wonder how those kids went to school when there was so much talk. We didn’t feel safe. This kind of thing takes life out from under you, your sense of security is shattered.”
RCMP Corporal Dana Parsons of the Southwest Major Crime Unit said that there are several possible scenarios that could explain what happened, but police need a few more clues to be sure. At the time officers combed the area, conducted a number of polygraph examinations, and interviews with few leads to his death.
Investigators believe that David Keddy left his girlfriend’s residence in Nictaux on June 3 and walked along the abandoned train bed towards the old train bridge where a wooden raft had been tied to the trestle.
According to his brother Garnet, David Keddy had been hit on the head with blunt force and was then shot in the back of the head with a .22 caliber bullet. The body was then placed on the wooden raft that had been tied to the train trestle bridge near Nictaux, with the rope neatly coiled up beside him.
Fishermen Find Body
Two fishermen spotted the raft with Keddy’s body a couple of days later. Chris Tanner was a good friend of David Keddy’s and followed the police investigation closely. He said he believes the police have done everything to find the person responsible. They couldn’t have done more if it was the prime minister, he added.
He described his friend as an easy-going guy who enjoyed a good time. David Keddy was an experienced woodsman, a man he always felt comfortable taking on a hunting trip, according to Tanner.
“He was like a salmon,” said Tanner. “He worked all summer driving truck. In the fall and winter he hunted and worked in the woods. In the spring he liked to go upstream and chase women for awhile before he went back to driving truck.”
In the months leading up to his death, Keddy had a streak of unlucky accidents that resulted in a broken leg, a wrecked truck, and a few broken ribs. Tanner said David had gotten involved with a stripper for a time who may have been working for a bike gang, but that had been over for many months.
That winter he broke his leg during an ATV accident and a while later, his new truck sustained damage in another accident. These incidents make Garnet and Shirley wonder if someone was trying to tell David something, but Tanner says if David was worried about something he probably would have told him.
Headed To Montreal
The last time Keddy visited one of his brothers on the afternoon of June 3, he was getting ready to go back on the road. He said he was headed to Montreal and was planning to cash a $400 cheque. When he was found a few days later, there was no money on his body, according to Tanner.
“I have a theory about what happened, but it’s pure speculation,” said Chris Tanner. “There are a lot of theories out there, but it’s all just speculation.”
Most of the popular theories of what happened seem pretty unlikely, added Tanner. He doesn’t believe that a bike gang would bother hunting David down, or that he was involved with drugs.
“He had no use for drugs,” he said. “And if it had to do with one of their girls, they would have just taken him out back and thumped him and told him to go home. He’d moved on from her anyway.”
Tanner said he believes that someone Keddy knew is probably responsible for his death, as people from out of town wouldn’t have known where to find the raft, “it’s a local thing.” He also believes that one clue to the murderer’s identity could be a rare kind of .22 caliber bullet.
Tanner added he would like to know what actually happened that night. That while Keddy enjoyed being an enigma, leaving people to wonder, it’s hard for his friends to find closure without the facts.
“If David could have planned it himself, it might have been like that,’ he said. “But for me this is like reading a mystery story with no ending, it just drives you crazy.”
Garnet and Shirley Keddy are also looking for the same answers and can’t help but wonder if there are people who know more than they are telling.
“I want to know what really happened,” Garnet said. “Who did this and why? Why did they think they had to do it?”
On Tuesday, June 5, the 25th anniversary of the murder, flowers and a note were placed on the edge of the train bridge, just a few metres from the path that leads down to the river where David Keddy's body was found. Shirley Keddy doesn't know what to make of that, but she thinks it's significant.
The Government of the Province of Nova Scotia is offering rewards of up to one hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the murder of David Andrew Keddy. Any person with information regarding the person(s) responsible for the murder should call the Rewards for Major Unsolved Crimes Program at 1-888-710-9090.