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Slaying victim 'loved Manitoba'

Police in Bahamas seek Anola farmer's killers

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BAHAMAS TRIBUNE PHOTO
A hearse takes the body of Edgar Dart from his mother�s home this week.

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BAHAMAS TRIBUNE PHOTO A hearse takes the body of Edgar Dart from his mother�s home this week.

Manitoba resident Edgar Dart died trying to save his family from armed intruders who burst into their Caribbean vacation home earlier this week.

Now grieving loved ones are describing how the frantic, final moments went down as police continue searching for the killers.

"You keep thinking over and over again that it could have happened differently," Dart's nephew, Olly Redfern, said on Friday from his home in England.

Redfern said the family's biggest concern is the mental state of Dart's 13-year-old son, George, who witnessed Tuesday's attack inside a home in an upscale neighbourhood of Freeport in the Bahamas.

Dart's estranged wife, who lives in the Steinbach area, flew to the Bahamas to be with the boy. They are expected to return home next week.

Seven family members were in the home at the time of the attack. Dart, his son, his 79-year-old mother, Joy, his brother, Colin, his sister-in-law, Allison, his 15-year-old nephew, Luke, and his 29-year-old nephew, Pip.

Redfern said three masked men, carrying a gun and a machete, burst into the residence around 7 a.m. Dart immediately confronted them, believing his family was in peril. They responded by shooting him once in the chest.

As Dart, 56, lay bleeding on the floor, the other six family members were tied up while the thieves ransacked the home before eventually fleeing with jewelry and cash. By the time paramedics could be called to the scene, it was too late.

"His death was quick," Redfern said Friday. There have been reports in some British papers this week Dart may have remained alive for close to an hour in front of his helpless family, but Redfern doesn't believe that's true.

Redfern also credited his uncle with potentially saving the lives of everyone else in the home.

"He's a very brave man, a very strong force in our family," he said.

Michael Dart, a cousin of Edgar Dart, said the family is still in shock. As with Redfern, he wasn't surprised to hear Dart put his own life before others. He called the killing "barbaric."

Police say they are following several potential leads but believe this was a well-planned attack, as the phone lines in the home were reportedly cut.

Dart came to Canada 16 years ago and loved his time in Manitoba, where he operated a feed business, Dart Farms, south of Anola. Employees there this week described Dart as a hard-working and loyal boss who was respected by everyone he knew.

"He spoke very highly of it. He loved Manitoba, loved Canada, the outdoor life," Redfern said Friday. He last saw his uncle at Christmas, when much of the family gathered in the same Bahamas home for the holidays. As they left, Redfern said many were teasing Dart about his return to such cold winter weather.

This most recent trip to the Bahamas was to help Dart's mother get some of her affairs in order following the death late last year of her husband. Now, they are planning another funeral.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 12, 2014 A3

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