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Cape Breton community relieved arrest made in Cassidy Bernard murder

It was standing room only at the We'koqma'q Community Centre on Tuesday for the RCMP's announcement regarding the arrest of Dwight Austin Isadore, 20, of Wagmatcook First Nation, in relation to the murder of Cassidy Bernard. Clapping was heard when officers announce Isadore was charged with second-degree murder and two counts of child abandonment. Many people there expressed relief knowing an arrest was finally made.
It was standing room only at the We'koqma'q Community Centre on Tuesday for the RCMP's announcement regarding the arrest of Dwight Austin Isadore, 20, of Wagmatcook First Nation, in relation to the murder of Cassidy Bernard. Clapping was heard when officers announce Isadore was charged with second-degree murder and two counts of child abandonment. Many people there expressed relief knowing an arrest was finally made. - Nikki Sullivan

'I am glad they arrested somebody because it has affected me, quite a bit'

WE’KOQMA’Q, N.S. —

Cassidy Bernard's grandmother is relieved an arrest has been made in the death of her 22-year-old granddaughter and she's not alone.

Although Julena Bernard isn't sure what she thinks about the charges yet (one count of second-degree murder and two counts of child abandonment), she does know she and her family will feel safer at night.

"Justice is doing alright," she said after the RCMP community announcement about the arrest of 20-year-old Dwight Austin Isadore, Cassidy's ex-boyfriend and the father of her twin girls, who were six months old when she died.

Sgt. Glenn Bonvie, acting officer in charge of RCMP's Northeast Nova Scotia major crime unit, speaks to (clockwise from back left) Cassidy's cousin Charlene Bernard, grandmother Julena Bernard and cousin Aurora Cremo.
Sgt. Glenn Bonvie, acting officer in charge of RCMP's Northeast Nova Scotia major crime unit, speaks to (clockwise from back left) Cassidy's cousin Charlene Bernard, grandmother Julena Bernard and cousin Aurora Cremo.

"It is a big relief. Not just for us (her family) but for the whole community," said Aurora Cremo, who was with Julena and other members of Cassidy's family. "And for the girls (Mona Bernard, Cassidy's mother, and her sisters). They were always scared. We always got calls they were scared someone was around the house...It was the best Monday ever (when we learned charges were being laid)."

Cassidy's family weren't the only ones afraid of potential intruders over the past 13 months while police investigated the young mother's suspicious death. Dolena Poulette said she and many other elders in the community have been "nervous" since Cassidy's body was found on Oct. 24, 2018, with her twin girls beside her.

"I am glad they arrested somebody because it has affected me, quite a bit ... After this happened, I couldn't sleep at night. Any time I hear a little dog or cat in the woods, I would just jump out of bed," said Poulette who is a retired schoolteacher.

"I bought an extra-strong flashlight so I could see (if anyone) was in back ... I would lock my doors all the time."

Poulette said other elders told her they were "just as scared and would have to lock our doors 24/7."

Robyn Googoo attended the RCMP announcement at the We'koqma'q Community Centre with some friends to show support for the family and hear what charges were laid against Cassidy Bernard's ex-boyfriend, Wagmatcook First Nation man Dwight Austin Isadore, 20, who is also the father of Cassidy's twins.

"It was scary (when there were no arrests made). Especially when you have little kids," said Googoo, fighting back tears.

"It's scary. The statistics (surrounding missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls) are just crazy."

A few community members who were at the band office for the press conference felt Isadore deserved a first-degree murder charge, however, the majority felt the charges were enough but expressed concerned about what might happen once the Isadore's case is tried.

Janey Michael (left), president of the We'koqma'q Native Women's Association, and We'koqma'q band councilor Cyril Bernard hug after addressing police during the RCMP announcement regarding the second-degree murder charge laid against Dwight Austin Isadore, in relation to the death of his ex-girlfriend Cassidy Bernard.
Janey Michael (left), president of the We'koqma'q Native Women's Association, and We'koqma'q band councilor Cyril Bernard hug after addressing police during the RCMP announcement regarding the second-degree murder charge laid against Dwight Austin Isadore, in relation to the death of his ex-girlfriend Cassidy Bernard.

"I hope they stay at what they are and he pays (for what he did) and serves time, and that (the charges) aren't lessened," said Googoo, who also said he thinks the charges of child abandonment might not be severe enough.

"Well, he left them for dead ... He had intentions to just leave them. If they hadn't been found, they would be dead too."

For the family, the charges do more than give them a renewed sense of security.

"They are affirming what everybody already knew," said Kelly Baye.

While some questioned how long the investigation took, Julena said the family knew if they let police do their job, eventually justice would be served.

"You've got to have patience," she said.

"That's what we all did for the last year," added Bianca Bernard, one of Cassidy's cousins. "It was so hard."

At the end of the announcement, RCMP gave the floor to concerned community members, who packed the room of the band office, leaving it standing room only.

Some expressed disappointment that the announcement, made in English and French, wasn't also presented in Mi'kmaq. Others, like We'koqma'q chief Rod Googoo, thanked police for their investigation and the community for supporting the family since day one. And it seems everyone, as relieved as they are an arrest has been made, are hoping the courts find Isadore guilty of second-degree murder.

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