Hennessey lost custody of her son hours before fatal fire

RCMP call on the public to remain patient saying the facts will come out in an 'appropriate time'

Teresa Wright twright@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on June 25, 2013

ST. FELIX, P.E.I. - Just a few hours before perishing in a fire in St. Felix with her four-year-old son last week, Trish Hennessey had lost custody of her little boy in family court, according to Hennessey’s friend of 17 years.

Sandra Jones of Bloomfield was one of the last people to see the 38-year-old Hennessey alive.

Jones spent Thursday afternoon with Hennessey as she attended court.

She says she was not permitted to enter the courtroom during the proceedings, but after the ruling came down her family was in shock.

“We’re still in shock about the result… she lost her son,” Jones said. 

“She thought if she got 50/50 (custody) she didn’t know what she was going to do.”

On Friday morning at 1 a.m. a passerby noticed a Jeep Wrangler burning along a quiet dirt road in St. Felix.

Hennessey and her four-year-old son, Nash David, were found dead in the back seat of the vehicle after Tignish firefighters doused the flames.

The RCMP's major crime unit, coroner's office and the fire marshal's office are still investigating the case, which is being described as suspicious.

But few details are being released at this time.

The RCMP confirmed Monday Hennessey was indeed one of the two victims found, but are not yet releasing the name of the second victim. The RCMP also confirmed that Hennessey was not reported missing until Friday morning, hours after the police had discovered the burnt-out Jeep.

RCMP Sgt. Andrew Blackadar says more scientific testing must be done before officials can name the second victim with absolute certainty.

“We never release identification until we’re 100 per cent certain, and we’re not,” Blackadar said.

The Guardian received a death notice for Hennessey on Sunday evening. It stated the family ‘was broken with the passing of Trish Hennessey and her son, Nash David.’

“That death notification was put in the paper, I assume, by the family and they’re certainly entitled to put whatever information they want to out into the public,” Blackadar explained.

“But we can’t do anything until we are certain of the identity of an individual.”

Blackadar said lab results on the second victim would not be complete until the middle of next week.

The causes of the two deaths are also unknown and still under investigation by the provincial coroner’s office. Toxicology tests are being conducted.

A number of friends and family members are being questioned and police are encouraging anyone with information to come forward to the RCMP.

No one has been taken into custody and police have not identified any persons of interest. Blackadar said nothing in the investigation to date leads police to believe the public is or was in any danger.

The Guardian made numerous attempts Monday to reach Nash's father, Mark Campbell of Stratford, or his family members. Emails were not returned and no response was received to calls that were placed.

Blackadar said police do have a theory about what transpired, but are not ready to share this theory because they have not yet proven it.

“Nonetheless, everything is still on the table for the investigators at this point.”

He said he knows a lot of Islanders are talking about the case and that many comments are being exchanged on social media and in informal conversations about what led to this tragedy.

He stressed people must remain patient while investigators determine the facts of the case.

“There’s been a lot of rumours, a lot of innuendo, a lot of accusations,” Blackadar said.

“I can only ask that the public remain patient… the facts that have to be made public will be made public at the appropriate time.”