Parents of Candace Derksen choose to forgive their daughter's killer
Published Monday, February 21, 2011 11:25AM CST
One day after their daughter's killer was found guilty of second-degree murder, the parents of Candace Derksen say they're choosing to forgive the man who left their daughter to die.
"I feel sorry for this gentleman and we have compassion for him and he's made some bad decisions," said Cliff Derksen. "But you know, it's all about love again."
The Derksen family along with a small group of friends laid white roses - a symbol of innocence – on Candace Derksen's grave Saturday morning, hoping to close a dark chapter in their lives.
"This is our recommitment to love, to forgive and to live," said Wilma Derksen. "We're going to live."
The gathering came less than 24-hours after Mark Edward Grant was found guilty of murdering their daughter. For Wilma and Cliff, it was a welcome end to a 26-year journey.
Candace Derksen disappeared while walking home from school in 1984. Seven weeks later her frozen body was discovered inside a machine shed not far from her home. Her arms were bound behind her back and tied at her ankles.
Twenty-three years would pass until DNA evidence found at the scene would eventually point to convicted sex offender Mark Edward Grant, who was arrested in 2007.
"Wilma and I have to admit that we had actually given up hope," said Cliff Derksen at the time.
Now, nearly three decades after their daughter's body was found, the Derksen's have justice – and closure.
"Now they know," said family friend Pastor John Epp at Candace's grave. "They have the details they were always lacking."
"Looking at their life and how they live in light of this, their love for Candace has kind of shaped their life and who they are as people," said Chris Lenshyn, a close family member.
Mark Grant now faces a mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole for ten years. However, the judge has the right to increase that to the maximum of 25 years. Sentencing is set for March.
-With a report from CTV's Caroline Barghout