Balloons released to honour Denis Carrier, Sandra Henry and Bentlee

Attendees release their balloons in to the air at the Lake Country Co-op parking lot on Sunday. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Harold Mulholland will always remember Sandra Henry for her kindness, enthusiasm, and the pride she showed in her grandchildren.

The news of Henry’s death last year, along with her partner Denis Carrier and grandson Bentlee, came as a huge shock, especially for Mulholland, who was one of Henry’s co-workers at the Lake Country Co-op.

“She brought sunshine to our team,” remembered Mulholland, Lake Country’s produce manager. “She was always dressing up for every holiday. We often had our breaks together, so I guess that’s how we got to know each other.

“Like almost everyone in the community, we were horrified by the circumstances (of her death), and then the realization that somebody that beautiful was not in our community … that was the hard part.”

Mulholland said the past year has been a challenging one due to COVID-19, and Sandra’s co-workers at the Co-op worried friends and family weren’t getting any closure. On Sunday, they sought to rectify that by holding a balloon release in memory of Sandra, Dennis and Bentlee in the Co-op parking lot.

“I know I need the release, the getting to the final step of letting Sandra and her family go,” he said. “I’m hoping this will give opportunities for other people in the community to also share that (release), and realize that we are together in this.”

Lake Country donated the balloons and helium for the event, and friend and family members sold them for $5 a piece, with the proceeds going to the Carrier side of the family. They originally anticipated selling just 300 balloons, but ended up selling so many they couldn’t keep count.

Residents from across Prince Albert gathered to pay their respects to a family that brightened the lives of everyone they crossed paths with. Like Mulholland, they were shocked at the circumstances around Sandra and Denis’ death, especially considering how friendly they were with everyone they met.

“They were just great people, so I needed to be here,” said Deanna Meredith, one of many Prince Albert residents who came out on Sunday. “I always bugged her when I went to the Co-op because I grew up in the West Flat as well. I’d say, ‘hello sister,’ and then Denis, I always called him Denis the Menace. They were just good people—really good people.”

Sandra and Denis’ granddaughter Kendrah was the only person to survive the triple homicide that took place on March 29, 2020. On Sunday, Kendrah was on hand helping her mother, Heather-Lynn Sumners, and grandparents Corey and Rhonda Ferchoff, fill balloons in memory of Sandra, Denis and her brother Bentlee.

“She’s been a complete light,” Sumners said. “She’s been our hero. She’s been our rock. She got the nickname one tough cookie for a reason.”

Corey said it’s been a difficult year that hasn’t presented many opportunities for closure. On Sunday, he was thinking of Co-op employees, and members of the Carrier side of the family, who he hoped would find an opportunity for peace at Sunday’s gathering.

“The community has been a big supporter,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the … tight-knit, close community light Prince Albert, it would have been tough having to go on.”

Sandra Henry and Denis Carrier were both 56 years-old when they and their seven-year-old grandson Bentlee were found deceased in a house by Prince Albert Police. Kendrah, who was then five, was rushed to hospital in Saskatoon and survived following multiple surgeries. Their son, Nathanial Carrier, who was also Kendrah and Bentlee’s father, faces multiple charges in connection with the incident, which has been ruled a homicide.

** This story has been corrected to remove incorrect information. The Herald would like to apologize to the family and regrets the error and any distress it may have caused**