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since June 19, 2001


Grant Harder, a separated father, shoots his son and himself

The stories relating to Grant Harder killing his son and himself that are identified below have one thing in common.  They present the views of the aggrieved mother of the little boy that got killed, but not the views of Grant Harder's parents.  Grant Harder, of course, is not able to tell his side of the story and what drove him to kill his son and himself.  Nevertheless, Grant Harder, too, was a son whose parents now grieve.

The stories represent a trial by media, and Grant Harder has been found guilty without apparently ever once having been in court to defend himself against any of the allegations that were made against him.

Certainly, the mother of the boy had obtained a restraining order against Grant Harder (the hearing intended to rule on a request to tighten that order will now not take place), but he did have visitation rights that had to be facilitated through a third party.   However, restraining orders are easy to come by.  All a woman who wants to put a man in his place has to do is to say she is afraid of him, and such restraining orders are almost always granted without the man targeted by them being present to defend himself against the allegations made against him.  Most often he doesn't even know of the order until he is presented with it.

If a restraining order is obtained and if fatal violence then erupts – as rarely as that happens – that is enough for the survivors who got a voice in the media to demand stricter controls on potentially violent men, to "protect battered women".  Sure enough, Iris Evans, Alberta's Minister of Child Services (read "mother's services"), already made the promise to introduce changes to the existing legislation to see what can be done to protect the innocent. 

Thereby the profiling of all men who are separated fathers intensifies.  Yet, if any profiling needs to be done to protect children's lives, it is single mothers who should be profiled.  Mothers, and a disproportionately large number of them single mothers, are involved in 70 percent of fatal child abuse, with the remainder of child fatalities caused by incidents of violence in "families" being committed by women's boyfriends, other men in women's lives who are not the natural fathers of children killed, and by other relatives, babysitters, friends and, least of all, the natural fathers of children.  Murder-suicides such as that by Grant Harder are extremely rare. *

Most news stories such as those identified below will be accessible on the Net only for a short time.  Many of them won't be accessible anymore within 24 hours after they have been published on the Net.  However, the impact they have on family- and father-hostile legislation will be lasting and cumulative.  So, with very little effort, all men can be tarred with the same brush.

Minister promises custody review

Mom pleads for new law

Emma Poole

Calgary Herald

Friday, December 06, 2002

Alberta's Child Services minister is vowing to act on a mourning mother's call for changes to the province's child custody laws.
   Naomi Manuel, whose son was killed by her estranged boyfriend in a murder-suicide, and minister Iris Evans said Thursday in separate statements that parents with a history of violence should be denied unsupervised visits with their children.
   "First and foremost I would like to state that there should be zero-tolerance of domestic violence. When there are children involved the courts should err on the side of caution," said Manuel from her home in Calgary.
   "All custody access rights should be denied immediately when criminal charges are pending.".... [Read: "when allegations - often false - have been made". —WHS]

Full story:


Edmonton Sun

NEWS Friday, December 6, 2002

Special screening needed, minister says after toddler shot to death


CALGARY -- Children's Services Minister Iris Evans says legislation to have non-custodial parents screened for mental problems before giving them access to their own children may have saved the life of little Cole Harder.
   Cole was shot to death near Camrose by his father, Grant Harder, 27, who then turned the shotgun on himself during a three day court granted visit on the weekend....When asked if such screening may have made a difference in Cole's case, Evans said:
   "Goodness knows, we may have saved a little boy." ...

Full story

Globe and Mail


Friday, December 6, 2002 – Page A10

Alberta man kills son, self after visit with family

Full story:

Calgary -- Grant Harder took his two-year-old son, Cole, for a happy Sunday visit with his grandfather before driving him to a remote area of central Alberta and shooting him in a murder-suicide.
   The bodies of Mr. Harder and his son, Cole, were found in a truck on Monday near Bittern Lake, south of Edmonton.
   Cole's mother, Naomi Manuel of Calgary, criticized the justice system yesterday, saying that Mr. Harder had assaulted her, yet he won access rights to their son. CP


Web Posted Dec 5 2002 08:42 AM CST

Father in murder-suicide had restraining order

Full story:

Calgary - The mother of a two-year-old who died in a murder-suicide had filed court documents saying she feared for the boy's safety.
   Naomi Manuel filed the documents hours before the bodies of Grant Harder, 27, and Cole were found Monday night in a pick-up truck near Bittern Lake. Camrose RCMP said each died from a single gunshot wound.
   According to court documents, Harder, who had his son for a scheduled visit, was supposed to return Cole to his mother Sunday night. When he didn't, Manuel filed an application on Monday in the Calgary Court of Queen's Bench to review the terms of a restraining order she had against Harder.
   Police said Harder had been visiting his family in Camrose.

In the court documents, Manuel said she feared for Cole's safety. Manuel had custody, but Harder was allowed "specified access" which he had to arrange through daycare or relatives.
   In the court documents, Manuel wrote that Harder was emotionally abusive, jealous, possessive and controlling. She said he asked her to swear on Cole's life that she wasn't cheating on him. She also said that last summer Harder was charged with assault after she was choked, and that he fraudulently used her credit card. [He was charged with assault.  Nothing is said whether he was actually found guilty of it.  —WHS]
   While Manuel said in previous documents she feared for her own safety, she didn't mention Cole's safety until Monday's review request.

Boy murdered in dad's final act of violence

Tot's death devastates family

Emma Poole

Calgary Herald

Thursday, December 05, 2002

[Picture] CREDIT: Courtesy, Naomi Manuel

The last picture of Cole Harder was taken Friday.

The day before Grant Harder was to appear in a Calgary court to deal with a restraining order against him, the former ski jumper was found dead, slumped over in his truck after shooting his only son and turning the gun on himself.
   The murder-suicide was the final chapter in a year filled with violent episodes by Harder against his girlfriend and limited court-ordered child visitations with his son, Cole.

The CBC article identified above stated that "In the court documents, Manuel wrote that Harder was emotionally abusive, jealous, possessive and controlling. She said he asked her to swear on Cole's life that she wasn't cheating on him. She also said that last summer Harder was charged with assault after she was choked, and that he fraudulently used her credit card." It appears that no hearings took place to establish Grant Harder's guilt with respect to those allegations.
  Such allegations are standard fare.  The allegation of one single instance of having been choked hardly provides sufficient justification to claim that there was a "a year filled with violent episodes by Harder against his girlfriend". —WHS

   ....RCMP Cpl. Mo Griffiths said Cole was shot once by Harder, who then pulled the trigger on himself.
   "I don't know how a person can get over the loss of a child," said Michelle Janke, Cole's aunt. "We're all very angry and shocked."
   Cole's grandfather, Al Janke, said he hopes the murder-suicide brings more attention to the plight of battered woman whose children are used as pawns in domestic battles. "We just don't want this to happen to other children," said Janke.
   Justice groups echoed his sentiments....

Full story:

Mother of murdered boy says system failed her


POSTED AT 8:34 PM Thursday, December 5

Full story:

A mother, whose two-year-old son was murdered by his father, says the system failed her.
   She read a written statement on Thursday to reporters.

The body of her son Cole was found Monday morning with his father Grant Harder. Harder had visitation rights to the boy, even though he'd been charged with assaulting the mom.
   Naomi Manuel spoke Thursday for the first time about the murder of son Cole. Manuel says the system has to change. And Alberta’s Children’s Services Minister agrees.
   But members of the Calgary Police Service say the system did what it was designed to do.
   The police say if the father had shown any violence towards his son they could have done something, but Harder was granted visitation rights and therefore there was nothing the police could do.
   Manuel hopes the death of her son will help others who are victims of domestic violence set an example for the justice system. She says violence towards any family member should be enough to raise alarm bells in the justice system.
   She has set up a trust fund in Cole's name to help other children of domestic violence. Donations to the Cole Harder Trust Fund can be made at any branch of the Royal Bank.
   Memorial services for Cole will be held on Monday, Dec. 9, at 2 p.m. at Mountain View Cemetery


Web Posted Dec 4 2002 09:33 AM CST

Father kills son, self

Edmonton - Police are calling the deaths of a 27-year-old man and his two-year-old son a murder-suicide.

Full story:

Grant Harder and his son Cole were found in a pick-up truck Monday night, each dead from a single gunshot wound, Camrose RCMP Cpl. Mo Griffiths said. He said Edmonton's chief medical examiner has confirmed the cause of death.
   The bodies were found by a passerby about one kilometre south-east of Bittern Lake, which is about 10 kilometres east of Camrose.

Father and son found dead in truck

Florence Loyie, Journal Staff Writer

Edmonton Journal

Canada.com, Canada - 04 Dec 2002

RCMP say they had no idea a two-year-old Calgary boy had been reported missing after a weekend visit to grandparents in Camrose until they found him and his father dead in a pick-up truck from a murder-suicide.
   A passing motorists [sic] discovered the bodies of Grant Harder, 27, and his toddler son, Cole, Monday evening in a pick-up truck on a remote road less than two kilometres southeast of Bittern Lake and called RCMP.
   Each had died from a single gun-shot wound. Police won’t say where they were shot....

Full story

Estranged dad kills son, then himself

Edmonton Journal, Canada - 05 Dec 2002

Telephones former girlfriend just before shooting

Emma Poole

Calgary Herald; Southam Newspapers

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Southam Newspapers, Calgary Herald / Michelle and Shawn Janke hold the last photo of their deceased nephew, Cole Harder, Wednesday outside the house of the two year-old's mother.

[Picture] Supplied / The last picture of Cole Harder was taken on Friday with Santa just before he left for a visit with his father Grant.

In Grant Harder's final act of cruelty against his former girlfriend, he parked his truck on a remote road near Camrose and shot dead their two-year-old son Cole before killing himself Sunday.
   Harder was to appear in court the following day to deal with a restraining order ex-girlfriend Naomi Manuel had against him.
   He telephoned Manuel at her Calgary home shortly before he fired a single shot into Cole, telling her he "wasn't going to do this anymore."
   Frantic, she called police. A passing motorist found the bodies Monday evening, two kilometres southeast of Bittern Lake.
   Al Janke, Cole's grandfather, said he hopes the murder-suicide brings more attention to the plight of battered women....

Full story

Apparently no evidence exists and no trial ever took place that would establish that Grant Harder was truly ever cruel to the mother of his son.  Nothing was said and no effort has been made by any of the journalists writing about the murder suicide to identify what it was that drove Grant Harder to commit his ultimate act of desperation.  He told Naomi Manuel that he "wasn't going to do this anymore" [put up with the circumstances under which he got access to his alleged son], but nothing has been said about what exactly and why it was that he "wasn't going to do this anymore." 
   Restraining orders are granted lightly and, rather than solve problems, they often escalate incendiary situations.  Restraining orders are the ultimate weapon that the courts love to hand to women and that women often use in acrimonious custody battles.
   We know from the articles identified above that Naomi Manuel alleged that the father of her child choked her once.

We know nothing of what caused Grant Harder to become fatally desperate.   However, we do know that, once they were separated, he would have had to pay child support that would most likely destroy him financially and quite possibly have caused him to fall into arrears, following which he would have faced the loss of his drivers license, causing him to be unable to get to wherever he would have had to work as an oil worker.   If he worked outside of Canada or overseas, he would no longer have been able to obtain a passport to get to where he had to work.
   Moreover, the oil industry in Alberta is in a serious slump that became intensified through the threat of the Kyoto accord.  It would shed a little more light on the issue if we were to know whether Grant Harder had been working steadily or whether he was as frequently unemployed as is presently customary for Alberta oil workers.

However, to delve into the case deeply enough to even only scratch the surface would require a bit more work than merely to spout hype.  Hype is so much more convenient, and who wants to do hard work when mere hype will do nicely.

Considering that Grant Harder apparently had concerns that his girlfriend had been cheating on him, would it not be the ultimate irony if Cole was in fact not his son.  Did the coroner establish biological paternity?
   Based on more than 300,000 paternity test in a single year (2001), the American Association of Blood Banks established that on average in 29.06 percent of the tests biological paternity had to be ruled out. 
   Depending on circumstances (the incidence of falsely alleged paternity is higher when the ostensible fathers are not married to the mothers of their children than it is when they are married) and on location, the incidence of falsely alleged paternity can be as high as 41 percent or higher.**

Would that be enough for many men to drive them around the bend?  You bet it is.

Back to Men Who Broke

See also:

*Andrea Yates notwithstanding, … all men are beastly brutes, if we are to believe what Jeff White told us.

**Advice to Men — Paternity Issues

whiterose.gif (6796 bytes)The White Rose
Thoughts are Free

Posted 2002 11 06
2007 11 03 (reformated)