Bob Lake photo for The Highlander
Bob Lake photo for The Highlander

Twenty-four-year-old Torontonian Charles Edward Palmer was shot in the head and chest with a .22 calibre rifle at his family cottage on Bob Lake near Minden, Ontario. He bled to death. Several rifles, a gold bracelet and his wallet were stolen.

Palmer, who lived on Shier Drive in Scarborough, was found lying dead on a couch on March 26, 1983, by his mother and sister. They had driven to the cottage after her son failed to show up for work at the family electrical automotive business.

Police said Palmer was last seen at about 6 p.m. on March 24 at a gas station in Minden, a town 190 km outside Toronto. A younger man was with him in his light blue 1979 Oldsmobile Delta 88. Police scoured the area of the cottage on foot and by helicopter looking for the missing car.

Black and white photo of murder victim Charles Palmer
murder victim Charles Palmer

Palmer’s car crossed over the Rainbow Bridge to the United States at about 4:30 p.m. on March 25 and was later found abandoned in the southern U.S.

Toronto native 18-year-old Kevin Joseph Humphrey was arrested eight days later after fleeing the country, and charged with first-degree murder, police said.

On July 18, 1983, the preliminary inquiry into the murder trial began. On July 19, Provincial Court Judge P.E. Barker imposed a publication ban. Information regarding the murder would be made public in 2008 when Humphrey appealed his sentence for a vicious knife attack on another man.

Humphrey had committed several crimes prior to murdering Palmer, including prostitution, theft, possession of stolen property, use of stolen credit cards, and possession of narcotics. During the trial, he alleged that Palmer was a violent rapist who had attacked a number of young men living the same area as Humphrey.

Humphrey claimed that after a friend had been raped by Palmer, he went with Palmer to the cottage where, after using drugs and getting into an altercation, he shot Palmer twice. Although Humphrey claimed he had gone with Palmer to confront and not kill him, evidence showed Humphrey had to reload the rifle after the first shot.

Humphrey was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with no change of parole for 10 years.

Humphrey was released on day parole in 1996 and committed various crimes over the next number of years. He was “unlawfully at large” (breached parole) and deemed a moderate risk for both general and violent recidivism. On October 16, 2006, he stabbed and slit the throat of a man named Richard Kent, a fellow crack user.

Murder Village Map



Vital Statistics

Name: Charles Edward Palmer
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Date of Death: March 24, 1983
Manner of Death: Shot
Location: Bob Lake, Minden Ontario
Suspect Name: Kevin Joseph Humphrey
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, parole eligibility in 10 years

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