Hope, but few answers

The grieving friends of Kim Blackwell know little about her murder, but remain optimistic answers are coming. The family has posted a $10,000 reward for any information about the murder of the 53-year-old Yukoner.

The grieving friends of Kim Blackwell know little about her murder, but remain optimistic answers are coming.

The family has posted a $10,000 reward for any information about the murder of the 53-year-old Yukoner.

Blackwell moved to Costa Rica nearly 20 years ago and established a chocolate factory on a remote farm abutting a national park in the Ossa Peninsula.

“There’s a sense that there are leads, but not necessarily enough evidence,” said friend Eric Epstein. “That’s a massive reward down there, so there’s hope that might lead to some information coming out.”

The factory was an attempt to provide local employment and ward off poaching activity in the national park, said Epstein.

However, poachers continued to cross Blackwell’s farm to get to the park and her battle with them eventually turned violent.

Many suspect it led to her death.

Judges have refused to issue warrants or make arrests, claiming a lack of substantial evidence.

A coroner’s report was to be issued Monday. But there’s still no word, said Epstein.

As well, the body was expected to be released by Costa Rican authorities Thursday, but there has been no news on that front either.

What Epstein has heard is that more than 100 people attended Blackwell’s memorial last week in Costa Rica.

As well, a date has been set for a memorial in Whitehorse.

It will take place on March 20, the first day of spring, at the cabin Blackwell built here many years ago.

“I think she would have appreciated that,” said Epstein. “I think it’s just a really good combination of times,” he added, mentioning the full moon and the “burning away the winter blues” event scheduled the night before.

Also, the date fits well with personal scheduling, and works for Blackwell’s brother, who is hoping to attend with some of his sister’s ashes.

Further details about the local memorial service will be shared closer to the day, Epstein said.

There is also hope that Blackwell’s chocolate factory will continue to operate in Costa Rica.

Three people have moved onto the land and are taking care of it and Epstein expects the battle against the poachers will continue as well.

“There are a lot of people who would like to see her death not be in vain,” he said.

“She was a very large personality and quite remarkable and a lot of people were influenced by her,” he said. “The more I hear from different parts of her community, the more I appreciate how truly remarkable she was.”

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com