It's been a long, hard road for the family and friends of Mary Lou Barnes and Larry Mills Jr. but they may finally see closure after more than 14 years of heartache.
Raymond Joseph White, one of the original suspects in the 1995 killings of Barnes and Mills Jr., has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the double homicide.
"This is a day filled with a lot of emotion," said Larry Mills, father of 12-year-old Larry Mills Jr. who was killed with his mother in their British Settlement home on November 1995. "This is something that no father should ever have to go through."
RCMP investigators announced the charges during a press conference on Tuesday morning in Sackville, explaining that the charges are the result of a "break" in the case that came in several weeks ago.
"New information was received . . . and that information assisted police in securing sufficient evidence to lay charges," said Sgt. Paul Ouelette of Sackville's RCMP detachment.
Ouelette said although specific details on the latest developments can not be divulged at this time, he pointed out that the information "will come out in the court process," including any possible motives for the murders.
The mother and son were found dead in their mobile home on Nov. 6, 1995, sending shockwaves throughout the small tight-knit community. The autopsy results later determined they were asphyxiated. A massive investigation followed, with assistance from special crime scene units in Halifax, Vancouver and Ottawa, and even FBI in Virginia helped with the case. And despite early evidence clearly pointing to a prime suspect, the murders have remained an unsolved crime.
Mills praised the RCMP investigators who have continued to work on the case, but admitted he's been frustrated with the lack of action over the years.
"There has not been a day gone by that I haven't thought of my son and his mother," he said. "And with the charges laid here today . . . I hope they will be able to now rest in peace."
He knows that nothing will ever bring his son or estranged wife back, but he feels relief that justice may finally be served and he's "eager to see the prosecution begin."
White, 63, is currently incarcerated in a British Columbia prison for a string of unrelated armed robberies and will be transferred back to New Brunswick within the coming weeks for his first court appearance, which has not yet been set.
At the time of the murders, White resided in the area, not far from the victims' home, although they were only believed to be mere acquaintances, said Ouelette.
"I know this has been a long and difficult road for the Barnes and Mills families," said Ouelette.
"We have remained in close touch with the families to keep them informed of the progress of the investigation. Their patience and trust over the years as we have built the case is appreciated."