Island electrician's body found months after disappearance

The body of Ben Kilmer has been found in a remote area of the Cowichan Valley, months after the Vancouver Island electrician vanished under mysterious circumstances.

The search for Kilmer came to a tragic end last Wednesday, when a hiker discovered the 41-year-old's remains near the Chemainus River. His cause of death hasn't been released, but police have ruled out foul play.

Kilmer leaves behind two children and his wife, Tonya, who had been holding out hope he might still turn up alive until Mounties knocked on her door last week.

"I never knew that I could or would ever feel pain like this. It makes every ounce that I've endured up until now seem like nothing," she said in a heartbreaking public statement.

"Now we know where you are going my sweet love. You are with complete certainty in a better place, and in God’s perfect time, that’s where I will belong, right there in your arms. Thank you for paving the way my love and thank you for the strength and protection you will give to me and the kids, your parents, your sister, your nephew, and all those who love you, all the days of our lives."

She also thanked the police, search and rescue teams and volunteers who spent countless hours combing through the dense wilderness to find him.

Kilmer, who lived in Cobble Hill, disappeared back in May. Authorities found his work van running by the side of a road with blood inside, but there was no sign of him.

Over the summer, specialized teams using eight dogs scoured the brush in the hopes of picking up his scent, but had no luck locating him either dead or alive.

The RCMP confirmed Wednesday that his remains were ultimately found "well outside" of the original search area. The circumstances are not considered suspicious, according to Mounties, and Kilmer's cause of death is now being investigated by the BC Coroners Service.

A statement provided by a family spokesperson said anyone wishing to leave condolences can do so through the Facebook page Find Ben Kilmer. Anyone interested can also donate to an education fund for his children through GoFundMe

“Though Ben has left this earth, we will remember his zest for life and spirit through his passion for the outdoors, his love of music and photography, and the lessons he taught about living life to the fullest, hard work, love, and loyalty," the family said in a statement.

"Most importantly, Ben will always be cherished as a husband and life partner, a loving daddy, a son, a brother, an uncle, a nephew, a cousin, a friend to so many, and a beautiful human being who shared a smile with everyone he passed."  

With files from CTV Vancouver Island's Robert Buffam