Family and friends hold vigil for Braden Herman on Saturday

Mary-Jane (mother), left, Brett (brother) and Daphanie Herman (sister) pay their respects to Braden Herman during a vigil on Saturday at the spot where his body was discovered last month. /Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald

Family and friends of 26-year-old Braden Herman gathered on Saturday for a vigil at the spot where his body was discovered. Around 30 people gathered for the sombre vigil.

The spot is hidden away, a 10 minute walk from the road to Pine Grove and Little Red River Park and concealed from sight. Vehicles that parked in the nearby clearing got stuck as they left because of the loose sand.

The body of Herman was found in the wooded area in Prince Albert on May 11, police said. Corporal Bernie Herman, a 32-year member of the RCMP who worked in the traffic services unit, has been charged with first-degree murder in Braden’s death.

Braden’s adoptive sister Daphanie Herman, who organized the vigil after receiving directions to the spot from police, appreciated all of the family and friends who were present.

“It was very thoughtful of them and I really appreciate everybody coming out from near and far. Some friends came out from Alberta, Saskatoon and back home, Prince Albert and we really appreciate everybody supporting us and we thank everybody from the bottom of our hearts,” she said.

Those who attended the vigil set mementos at a cross with Braden’s name. People lit candles which had the image of Herman and people had masks imprinted with “Justice for Braden” and other items that remembered him.

A Catholic priest speaks during Saturday’s vigil. /Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald

A Catholic priest performed a ceremony to honour Braden and prayers led by the family followed.

Family gathered with Braden’s grandmothers seated closest to the cross which was placed by Daphanie.

Family and friends came from around the province and located the spot, which is hidden from sight because of her directions.

“It was hard, I tried to explain to everybody that I have to show you or lead you in order to get there because it’s a hard place to find,” Daphanie said.

Donald Herman traveled from La Loche for the vigil.

“I am praying for my brother and I really appreciate everyone coming out here and supporting my family and my grandma is here and she is taking it pretty hard,” he said.

“This is my first time I have been here and I don’t like this area to be honest just because of what happened,” he added.

The priest extended his condolences and said that those present were all included in their prayers.

Braden moved to Prince Albert from Clearwater Dene Nation in 2006 and spent time at both St. Mary and Carlton Comprehensive. He was described by his brother as a good and bright kid who loved his nephew like his own son.

“He was a good guy,” Brett Herman said. “He never had anything bad to say about anybody He’s going to leave a lot of people with a lot of unanswered questions. We’re all going to really miss him.”

Braden’s remains were found after Bernie called a friend in the RCMP to say that he had killed someone. He told the RCMP investigators where they could find Braden. The RCMP travelled to the area and found Braden, deceased. They believe that he was shot. It’s believed that Bernie was in his full RCMP uniform at the time of the incident. He was off-duty at the time.

Police say Braden wasn’t moved from where he was found. They believe that spot near Little Red River Park, where the vigil was held Saturday, is where he died.

Bernie is currently in custody and is scheduled to appear in Prince Albert Provincial Court on June 9.

Bernie, 53, is said to have known Braden, though the two were not related. Family have said the two men once stayed in the same house, a residence on Dent Crescent that has been searched by police. Last week Bernie resigned from the RCMP.

-with files from Peter Lozinski