The 39-year-old man charged with murdering Ann Marie Shirran was her live-in boyfriend and father of their one-year-old son, police confirmed today.
David Folker lived with Shirran in Kilbride for six months prior to her disappearance on July 18, Const. Suzanne FitzGerald told reporters at Royal Newfoundland Constabulary headquarters. Prior to that, the couple also lived together on the west coast of Newfoundland, as well as Nova Scotia.
FitzGerald also confirmed that police notified Child, Youth and Family Services — which are responsible for child protection — a week after Shirran was reported missing, as part of their policy.
“On Aug. 10, the RNC contacted Child, Youth and Family Services again and requested that they become involved in the process, as they did,” FitzGerald said.
“As to what actions they’ve taken, I’m not at liberty to discuss that.”
Shirran’s remains were found by campers in the woods south of Cappahayden. Initial reports were that the remains were “a skeleton.”
However, out of respect for the family, Fitzgerald would not comment on the condition of the human remains.
“What I can tell you was that the body was decomposed,” she said.
She said forensic anthropologists from Memorial University are helping in the investigation.
She would also not answer questions about where and when Shirran was murdered, for fear of jeopardizing the investigation, and would not comment on what led police to Folker.
Folker appeared in provincial court in St. John’s this morning, a day after he was arrested.
He was formally charged with second-degree murder and “improperly or indecently interfering with or offering an indignity to a dead human body or human remains.”
He was arrested Monday morning, less than a day after police revealed that the body found was that of Shirran who had allegedly gone missing from her home in Kilbride.
The court was also crowded this morning with family members and friends of Shirran.
St. John’s lawyers Bill Collins and Mike King are defending Folker. Frances Knickle and Andrew Brown are the Crown prosecutors assigned to the case.
Collins told Judge Greg Brown they needed time to review the case and asked that it be postponed for about three weeks.
Folker agreed to return to jail until his next court date, Sept. 28.
FitzGerald said the site at Cappahayden remains secured by police. FitzGerald said forensic ID unit, forensic anthropologist and patrol officers are doing grid searches and establishing whether or not there is further evidence.
In the meantime, FitzGerald confirmed that the extensive ground search efforts in the Blackhead area did come up with pertinent evidence.
“The ground search resulted in a number of discoveries that the RNC made that were crucial to the process and advancement of the investigation,” Fitzgerald said, without elaborating on what those discoveries were.