- BC Games
Ladysmith, Queen Margaret's in mourning after tragedy claims student
Students at Queen Margaret’s School returned to classes with heavy hearts this week.
One of their own is dead after what appears to be a hiking accident Thursday in Ladysmith.
The body of 16-year-old Kaitlin Heidelbach was discovered Friday near the Holland Creek Trails, a popular community walking spot.Indications are she tumbled down a steep embankment while out for a walk.
The loss hit her family, her school and her community hard.
“Kaitlin excelled at everything whether it was games, sports or school — she wanted to be the best at everything she did,” her obituary reads. “She was starting the new school year in Grade 11 as house captain and sports captain. Highly motivated, energetic, driven, a natural leader and independent she was destined to succeed. She had big hopes and dreams.”
Heidelbach volunteered at Cowichan District Hospital and St. John Ambulance in Duncan, went on a service trip to Nicaragua at age 14 and had another planned to Africa this year.
“Ever since Kaitlin was five years old, she said she wanted to be a doctor and never once wavered from this goal,” the obituary reads. “Her plans were that after she completed medical school she wanted to spend the first two years of her career working with Doctors Without Borders.”
Search-and-rescue crews, including those from Cowichan and Nanaimo, plus an RCMP helicopter, were involved in the search that ended 9:30 a.m. Friday near Twin Falls trails.
“Heidelbach texted her father, Neil, at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 29 telling him she was going for a walk and she’d be home in two hours,” a police release stated.
Neil Heidelbach described Kaitlin as being “fairly familiar” with the Holland Creek Trail system, and “very much an outdoorsy person” who likes to explore.
RCMP Victim Services are available to anyone impacted by the tragedy.
A Celebration of Life is scheduled for QMS on Friday, Sept. 6, at 1 p.m.