When Const. Jonathan Maillet arrested a young woman who didn’t pay for her gas at Rimbey Esso on Feb. 5 he discovered more than just a stolen firearm in the unregistered and uninsured vehicle.
He found a bundle of handwritten letters between Margaret Clark and Gen. Mungo Clark, dating back to 1944.
He immediately notified the K-Division media relations officer to do a media release on social media.
On Feb. 24, 19 days after the letters were discovered, three of Mungo Clark’s grandchildren arrived at the Rimbey RCMP detachment to pick up the letters.
It was an emotional morning for Jason Rasmussen, his sisters Trish Rasmussen and Kirsten Evans.
Jason Rasmussen read an excerpt from one of the letters to the media who were present when the stolen mail was handed over.
“I was very glad to get your letter at last. I couldn’t imagine what had happened to you,” the letter said.
Rasmussen and his sisters appeared amazed that the long ago letters between their grandpa and a great-aunt were found.
“It is absolutely amazing,” Rasmussen said. “What are the odds?”
The siblings explained that their grandpa,who served with the Canadian Army, Overseas; 40th Battery, 11th Field Regiment, talked about the war very little.
They said he lived alone after their grandma died and was a private man. In his later years he lived in a nursing home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He passed away in 1995.
“He was a mysterious man, a cool bird,” Jason said.
Trish Rasmussen said her grandpa lied about his age and joined the army when he was only 16, serving overseas when he was still a teenager.
The siblings scanned the letters while at the RCMP detachment, a play of emotion clearly visible on their faces.
“He was a front gunner on the front lines. It is amazing he made it back at all,” said Jason. “I can’t wait to read all of them.”
He said the letters were verbal proof that his grandpa was loved and missed.
“It will be pretty emotional, especially for our mom,” he said.”These letters show he was very caring, loving. The war had changed him. It would change anybody.”
The letters mysteriously showed up in a car driven by 26-year-old Kaylyn Holmgren. The young woman has since been charged with 20 criminal code property and provincial traffic offences. After a judicial interim release hearing, Holmgren was released from Rimbey Detachment on bail, and is scheduled to appear in court in Rimbey on Mar. 4, 2016.
Holmgren has also been charged with possession of a stolen firearm and other firearm offenses including a firearms prohibition order, unsafe transportation of a firearm for a purpose dangerous to public peace and possession of break in tools.Holmgren has been released on bail.
Meanwhile RCMP continue to investigate the matter and Const. Carman Dutz said it has not been determined how the mail got in the car.
“That remains a mystery,” he said.