Port Coquitlam family grieves for murdered son

No information yet on why or how he was killed in Dawson City, Yukon on April 30

A Port Coquitlam family is seeking answers — and justice — after their 41-year-old son, brother and dad was murdered April 30 in Dawson City, Yukon.

Kevin McGowan, who grew up in PoCo and became a chef, had travelled to the northern town for a job in a Greek restaurant. He was killed in the downtown area of the city two weeks after his arrival and the circumstances remain a mystery to his family and friends.

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Yukon RCMP have said in a statement to The Tri-City News that they are not revealing any details about McGowan’s death or any other information pending the conclusion of the investigation.

“No arrests have been made at this time. This investigation is still in the early stages and investigators are actively working to solve this case,” a spokesperson for the Yukon RCMP Major Crimes Unit stated in an email Tuesday. “We will not be providing any details on leads, suspects or the circumstances surrounding his death. That information is part of the investigation.”

But for McGowan’s family, which includes mom Dianna McGowan, a retired Eagle Ridge Hospital administrator, and dad Dave McGowan, a retired welding instructor, each day brings more challenges as they wait for news.

At this point, the family doesn’t know how McGowan died, although an autopsy performed in Vancouver concluded his death was a homicide.

“That’s part of the information they are holding back. It is very difficult,” said Dianna McGowan.

She said the family has been in contact with the RCMP weekly through an officer who has been helpful. “We have to respect what they are asking us and let them do their work.”

In the meantime, the family, which includes McGowan’s daughter, who also lives in PoCo, and a brother, Brad, is being consoled by the outpouring of love and remembrances.

The McGowan family was able to watch a prayer circle live streamed from Dawson City attended by dozens of people, many of whom had made friends with McGowan in just the short time he was there.

A memorial of photos and flowers was also erected, and although the family has no plans to go to Dawson City until a potential court case, they are comforted knowing that McGowan was loved and had friends.

“There was a beautiful prayer circle for Kevin just days after it happened. We wanted to go to Dawson and hug everyone,” Dianna McGowan said.

In Port Moody late last month a celebration of life was held for Kevin McGowan that drew a large crowd of family and friends, including his friends dating back to his pre-school days.

“I think it’s a real eye-opener for the 40-year-olds that life is precious. We’ve had friends come here just in absolute shock, we’re still in shock,” Dianna McGowan said. “It’s really pulled them all together, his friends.”

Among the memories shared by family and friends was McGowan’s love for the outdoors and small-town life. He was also described as the “life of the party” whose smile lit up the room.

After graduating from Terry Fox secondary, McGowan studied in the culinary arts program at Vancouver Vocational Institute and worked at various restaurants; he was a guest chef on Breakfast Television Vancouver and contributed cooking articles to BC Outdoors Magazine.

Although he could have taken chef jobs locally, McGowan preferred the small-town life and his mom thought the Dawson City post would have been ideal for him.

But his life was cut short and exactly how remains a mystery. Now the family is seeking justice as they deal with their grief.

“I’m not looking forward to hearing more but of course we’re going to want a resolution to this,” she said.

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