Threats force Barbara Kentner’s family from Thunder Bay as death probe continues - APTN NewsAPTN News

Threats force Barbara Kentner’s family from Thunder Bay as death probe continues

Melissa Kentner watching over her sister Barbara Kentner at the St. Joseph's hospice. APTN/Willow Fiddler

Melissa Kentner watching over her sister Barbara Kentner at the St. Joseph’s hospice. APTN/Willow Fiddler

Willow Fiddler and Dennis Ward
APTN National News
The sister of Barbara Kentner — the Anishinaabe woman who died after she was attacked with a trailer hitch — has moved away from Thunder Bay following threats targeting her children.

Melissa Kentner said she has moved out of the city to another community with her children.

“I’m going live here for the safety of the kids,” Kentner told APTN in an online conversation. “These white kids telling my kids that they are going to be the next ones found in the river or get a trailer hitch thrown at them.”

Melissa Kentner said adjusting to life without her sister has been difficult for the whole family. She said her children also needed some distance from the tragedy that befell her sister.

“The kids didn’t want to be reminded about Barb every day,” she said.

Barbara Kentner, 34, died July 4 following complications her family said were caused by the impact of a trailer hitch thrown from a moving vehicle during a targeted attack in January.

Barbara and Melissa Kentner were walking on a downtown Thunder Bay street in the early morning hours of Jan. 29 when they were noticed by a group of four individuals in a parked car. The car sped towards them and an individual fired a trailer hitch at Barbara Kentner from a passenger window.

The Kentner family says doctors told them the trailer hitch ruptured Barbara Kentner’s small intestine which triggered a fungus infection that eventually led to her death.

Thunder Bay Police charged Brayden Bushby, 18, with aggravated assault in connection with the incident. The three other people in the car are expected to be called as witnesses should the case against Bushby go to trial.

The Crown and Thunder Bay police are still waiting for autopsy results to determine whether the charge against Bushby should be upgraded to a homicide.

Thunder Bay Police spokesperson Chris Adams says police still haven’t heard back from the Coroner.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario says the investigation into the death is ongoing. Cheryl Mahyr, speaking by phone from Toronto, said an autopsy can take days, weeks or months.

Melissa Kentner has told APTN she wants to see charges against the three other individuals in the car.



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51 Responses to “Threats force Barbara Kentner’s family from Thunder Bay as death probe continues”

    Bonnie Tittaferrante August 26, 2017 at 9:06 pm #

    They should all be charged with homicide. We’re horrified at this behaviour. These monsters need to be made an example of.

    JonB August 26, 2017 at 7:46 am #

    Moving along nice and slow, due to the crime being committed by a non-native on a native, yeah, I imagine if it was the other way around there’d be more serious charges most likely the following day

    Bonnie Tittaferrante August 25, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

    I am horrified by all of this. All four should be charged with murder. This is a hate crime. Police need to investigate and charge those people threatening the children as well.

    Angie August 25, 2017 at 3:34 am #

    Why are they threatening the family? Geez, that’s not their fault. That kid shouldn’t have throw a hitch at them! I wouldn’t want to get hit by that if I’m walking. Fnken stupid! She died from that injury too.

    jennifer pimentel August 24, 2017 at 10:34 pm #

    This Aboriginal country

    IB August 24, 2017 at 7:54 pm #

    Since this one guy hurt a woman, who evetually died, he will be dealt with by the punisher. He also takes on all her sins so she has a clear path to heaven. I bet he never thought about those consequences- how does it feel tough guy?

    Penni-Dawn Kernot August 24, 2017 at 4:52 pm #

    The Driver and the young man who threw the hitch should both be charged with 3rd Degree Murder or 1st Degree Manslaughter, and the other people in the car should be charged with Accessory to the others charges!! PLUS the Crown should also add a Hate Crime to all charges!!!! I realize that the young man who threw the hitch is still only a boy, but he should know better.

    Matuga August 24, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

    This is a deep tragedy that cannot and will not be solved or bettered by Canada’s prison system which is as prisoners call it, a “HATE FACTORY”.

    Those who want changes should not look to the prison system to make those changes.

    As you know, a great percentage of indigenous peoples are at risk of being imprisoned.

    Specific criteria are important when laying charges. The CROWN lays charges; not the police. The CROWN is responsible for upgrading the charge based on further evidence.

    Town halls and education and making social events affordable to everyone based on a means test are some ways that might help the citizens of Thunder Bay realize they have a hateful racist problem.

    All people must acknowledge that Canada has a problem with racism and Canada must allocate more time and resources to address the racism that exists and prevent the racism from being promulgated.

    Jennifer August 24, 2017 at 11:58 am #

    As a white woman from Thunder Bay, one who grew up in privilege as I now understand it, the actions of these 4 people seem like homicide, not assault. It was racism, pure and simple.

    I ask everyone NOT to think that all white people nor all of Thunder Bay stands behind the actions of these men and the lack of action from law enforcement. We do not.

    I love my husband and children…all Lakota. I miss my Anishinaabe friends from when I lived in Thunder Bay. I’m appalled by the racism and hate.

    My hope is for healing for OUR shared country. We need to narrow and mend this horrible chasm.

    My most sincere condolences to the Kentner family.

    CanIPlayWithMadness August 24, 2017 at 12:44 am #

    Sad when a Native person is found dead they can rule the cause of death within 24 hrs but in Barbara’s case we are still waiting for results!!! Only in Thunder Bay!!!!

    Sheila August 23, 2017 at 10:51 pm #

    The other three whites should be charged as accomplices in this gross murder.

    Tom F August 23, 2017 at 10:42 pm #

    This is so sad yet aggravating. I can only imagine this family’s pain. Losing a loved one because of hate and then having to face even more hate.

    As a white person I am saddened to my core that someone…. I don’t even know how to express what i mean. I just dont understand how a human being could do this! Then to attack the family even more and go after kids.

    Those i dont know what to call the things that were in the car should all be charged with murder and be locked away permenately. They aren’t human as they have no humanity in them if they can do this.

    I hope this family find a new home and they can try and recover and be happy someday.

    Allie August 23, 2017 at 8:44 pm #

    This is a hate crime and should be acknowledged for what it is. It’s shameful

    Rick Tonita August 23, 2017 at 7:15 pm #

    The inhumanity of this tragedy drives right to the depth of one’s soul. This is terrorism, cultural and continuing genocide. PM Trudeau states there is no more important relationship than the one with First Nations. It is time to call this what it is and ask Canadians to come together and address what we are doing to First Nations people across this country. Is this what we are celebrating 150 years of? Thank you Ms Willow Fiddler for your continued investigative reporting on First Nations discrimination and cultural genocide.

    Maggie August 23, 2017 at 6:29 pm #

    This horrible event makes me think of the death of Helen Betty Osborne and the community silence that followed her death. This happened in the early 70’s in northern Manitoba. So terribly sad that this kind of thing still happens

    Angus August 23, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

    They driver is as guilty as the one who threw the hitch. Plus the others in the vehicle are accessories to an assault and now homicide. All have to be traitor hitched. !

    Kesenew August 23, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

    I may be an old man but I’m willing to go there and do what has to be done cuz racist cops and criminal mayors won’t….where is Idle no More? Probably still busy wring books about themselves….come on let’s be Indians and occupy that town and get real results as we did in the 60’s and early70’s….From a 74 year old ass-kicking INDIAN….

    Kathy L August 23, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    This was a Hate Crime these Nish Ladies were targeted for daring to walk like Proud Nish women who have that teen boy the right to try to kill her. Damn Privilege did and shame on him and everyone else who thinks Humans Canadians Ontario s own can treat one another like this. It’s unlawful immoral and unethical. Shame shame

    Tracy August 23, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

    This is so sad how traumatizing for the family and for the children who will undoubtably hold resentment and mistrust in their souls for this cruel heartless racist act. Their poor Auntie.
    I can’t help but wonder why, how were these teens who did this brought up? Shame on them who fed their brains and heart with hate.

    Jj August 23, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

    Absolutely, a hate crime and tragic for all concerned. That these young men had not been taught the history of indigenous people’s and respect for all human life … all life even their own …is failure of family, community and a nation responsibilities to prepare children and youth to live a productive and respectful life.

    Sophia Marx August 23, 2017 at 11:58 am #

    It is truly disgusting – 1 aggravated assault, 3 others complicit in a planned attack get nothing – 2 attacked, 1 dies – the children threatened. Thunder Bay needs more than prayers. First Nations need protection. The racism needs to be stopped. It is obvious that this area is still living with the bigoted beliefs of the original oppressors. Maybe the grid needs to be turned off so these people can live without for a while. Learn to farm and hunt to eat. Go without hospitals and grocery stores and electronics. No cars. Learn to sew their clothes by hand. If they want to act like colonists, they can live like colonists. (They did not have the banks back then – so sorry – live without the money – it would be good for them.)

    sarastar68 August 23, 2017 at 4:57 am #

    How can they not hear anything back yet.. maybe they forgot to send it.. This is so wrong.. she should not have to move he should be jailed and harder charges.. so other people see what he did was wrong… 🙁

    Marie Green August 23, 2017 at 1:24 am #

    The Kentner family deserves so much more from law enforcement and from the community of Thunder Bay. Instead of being embraced by the people of Thunder Bay, they continue to be attacked while the thugs – murderers – are still roaming free. It is disgraceful.
    My thoughts and prayers are with the Kentners. ❤️

    Marie Green August 23, 2017 at 1:02 am #

    People of Thunder Bay – demand justice for the Kentner family! Why has the community not rallied around the family who suffered the violent, racist attack? Why does this family have to move to be safe? Demand more of yourselves, your neighbors, your law enforcement. Don’t let these murderers get away with their crimes!

    Cate August 23, 2017 at 12:48 am #

    I am disgusted, saddened,but not shocked in the least that this has happened to the kids. I will say that I believe she has the eight idea though of removing herself and the kids from the city. They all need time to recover from the incident and all of the publicity it brought to the family. It’s hard enough to cope when someone in the family passes away let alone have that death be focoused upon.
    I hope and pray for peace for everyone involved and also hope that justice is served. May she rest in peace.

    Sadie August 22, 2017 at 11:50 pm #

    These hate crimes are continuously going unpunished. It won’t stop until all perpetrators of hate are being prosecuted as they are committing hate crimes!!! What is so hard to understand about that??

    Tsionaktiio August 22, 2017 at 11:42 pm #

    Nice how white people teach their kids to hate. Shame on them, who do they think they are! Superior! Just small minded idiots , hope the cops are taking this serious. We need 1000 Natives to go protest on our once owned land.

      Joe August 23, 2017 at 6:53 pm #

      I am a white person. I am so saddened and outraged by what happened to the Kentner family. We are not all racists and we do not all teach our kids to hate.

      KR August 23, 2017 at 9:04 pm #

      Not all “white people” teach their children hatred! Please do not generalize us all into one group. I agree with all being said, and there should be justice.

      Mary August 24, 2017 at 8:10 am #

      Not all white people and not just white people. I’m sickened by reading this story. The ones threatening Melissa Kentner’s children should be rounded up and charged. Juveniles or not something needs to be done about all the hate. If it was up to me all 4 of the monsters who did this to her sister would be sitting in a jail cell waiting to find out what they were being charged with – and at the very least it should be aggravated assault AND murder!!!

      JoAnn Ayotte August 24, 2017 at 6:22 pm #

      I am white. I did not teach my children to hate. Stereotyping doesn’t solve anything. Perhaps the comment could have been articulated like, Thunder Bay white people have taught their kids to hate. Please do not paint us all with the same brush.

        M kelemen August 28, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

        I’m sure there are non haters in Thunder Bay.

      M kelemen August 28, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

      I don’t teach my kids to hate. What a sad situation! I agree the others should be charged as accessories. 🙁

    123 August 22, 2017 at 11:22 pm #

    he should be charged with murder. fuck assault. he killed her in a targeted attack.

    Yolande August 22, 2017 at 11:16 pm #

    What is wrong with people! Who is teaching these white kids to behave that way! I think this is a homicide…how can it not be…those kids knew what kind of damage this could do to the human body! Hopefully, that kid gets life in prison for his punishment!

      Teresa August 23, 2017 at 5:02 pm #

      Good question. Who is teaching these youg people and why. Innocent people who did nothing to warrant such behaviour. Even if the intent wasn’t to kill. They were old enough to know they were making a choice seriously injure another human being. I truly believe the occupants of that vehicle should all have to answer for their part in the crime commited. They were all willing participants. I certainly hope the family are able to survive this mess moving forward with a loss that they never should have endured. Prayers for all of you

    Julia Madison August 22, 2017 at 11:14 pm #

    Those guys need to be charged with murder and accesory to murder..

      Penni-Dawn Kernot August 24, 2017 at 4:48 pm #

      Yes! The Driver and the young man who threw the hitch should both be charged with 3rd Degree Murder or 1st Degree Manslaughter, and the other people in the car should be charged with Accessory to the others charges!!

    Patrick Wood August 22, 2017 at 11:06 pm #

    This is so wrong at every level. I wonder why police protection was not given to Melissa and her family. How many more of us have to disappear or be found floating in a river in Thunder Bay?? What the hell kind of place is this anyway? What is taking so long for the autopsy results?? Sorry I don’t have much more than questions.I ask Creator to hold Melissa and her family close to His protection and love, and that He will help them in their grief. Melissa, I am truly sorry for what you are going through. Having to move because you are afraid must be terrifying. You and your children being uprooted because of some racist bigots. I also agree with you on the prosecution of all, not just the one.

      Phil Roussin August 23, 2017 at 7:57 pm #

      With other health complications, an autopsy is extremely difficult. Yes the charges should be upgraded to Murder, if that caused her death. This was a hate crime and should be sent off for the maximum.

    linda izatt August 22, 2017 at 10:40 pm #

    Murder should be the Charge

    Sam owl August 22, 2017 at 10:28 pm #

    The men should be charged with murder. And accessory to murder. It was a deliberate act with forethought and hate. The driver is as guilty as the one who fired the trailer hitch. And the courts can’t use the excuse the men didn’t know what they were doing or were under the influence… many more charges should be laid. .. and jail time for everyone of them. Two need to get a life sentence.

    Peter McGuinness August 22, 2017 at 10:11 pm #

    The charges should be upgraded, now. And the others should be charged.

      Doug Beardy August 23, 2017 at 6:27 pm #

      Yes…I agree! Some things are just a given…what are they waiting for?? When one is present at a murder, they are considered accomplices. The only mystifying element in this case is…does it apply to native people also?

    Dan L Beaulieu August 22, 2017 at 10:09 pm #

    All four chose to kill a native woman because she was native. The one who threw the hitch was just acting on the common decision of all four.
    The only reason the others didnt throw hitches, is that they only had one hitch to throw.
    That Ms Kentner lived as long after as she did (before dying in agony), was only the result that one bigot couldn’t throw straight. He meant to kill her. They all meant to kill her.
    And Thunder Bay stands behind those murderers. Cheering.

      Phil Roussin August 23, 2017 at 7:54 pm #

      get facts first, Then send your lynch mob.

    Maria Mars August 22, 2017 at 10:00 pm #

    I’m so sorry.

    Vicksterz August 22, 2017 at 9:16 pm #

    Hmmm…. How sad and degrading can one be!!??

    Amanda August 22, 2017 at 8:50 pm #

    Its a crying shame when a native person can not even walk the streets without some racist jerk behind the wheel AND is accompanied by OTHER racist jerks. If were a vehicle full of people, than YES. They should ALL be charged. Or someone in that vehicle should of prevented this from happening. What a sad story. <\3

    Stephen Leszkovics August 22, 2017 at 7:56 pm #

    This is inter-generational racism. Could you imagine the things these children are hearing to make them so callous.That is disgusting behavior. It sounds like Thunder Bay needs an enema..

      Scratch August 23, 2017 at 7:57 pm #

      So it’s gone from yelling Drity Indian! To throwing Trailer hitches?! This Stupid word Reconciliation is nothing but just that. A word! Like all the rest of past and present. Wanna make them nervous and on edge the powers that be! I said this once and I’ll say it again. National War Council!! Ever chief and the main elders across Canada. To counsel on ways to finally hold them to there words! And have a Powow of thousands and thousands going around the clock. Until the counsel has decided what should be done? And make it a national treaty between all natives as tribal laws. Where it states if one tribes in trouble because of land issues,sacred sights and or bullying! Every tribe sends 20 warriors to defend or protect. This is how you make them on edge and stop thinking they know what the native thinking! We see feel hear touch and know what the worth of life is. Unlike those who treat the native as a 5th class being. 1.White privallaged 2.immigrants, 3. Illegal immigrants, 4.pets and animals,and finally 5. The Native. Dont believe me?! Look around……..