The mother of the 4-year-old girl who died alongside her father while on a hike in Canada says life has felt “like a nightmare” since she lost her “most wonderful, kind-hearted” daughter.
Jennifer Kagan is mourning the death of her young daughter Keira Kagan, who was found dead at Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area on Sunday with her father, Robin Brown. Both suffered injuries that were possibly consistent with a fall, authorities said.
“Keira was the absolute most special girl you could ever ask for,” Kagan told reporters at home, according to CTV News. “Just absolutely resilient and smart and spunky, loved to get dressed up to get into her princess dress and be fancy. Loved to just hang out.”
Kagan said Keira was the owner of a shirt that read, “I’m going to change the world” — and the proud mom truly believed she one day would.
“She was that sort of girl,” she said. “And now I’m going to try what I can and do that for her.”
Keira lived with Kagan and her stepfather, Philip Viater, who told CTV News that he’d dropped the girl off at Brown’s house on Friday so that they could spend the weekend together.
The father-daughter pair arrived at Rattlesnake Point, 37 miles outside of Toronto, between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday, police said. They were due back from their hike by 5:30 p.m., but failed to arrive, and authorities received a call two hours later reporting their disappearance.
After an hours-long search through the “challenging” terrain, their bodies were found with “significant trauma” at the base of an escarpment just after 11 p.m., Cst. Ryan Anderson of the Halton Regional Police Service said at a press conference.
“It feels like a nightmare,” Kagan said, according to CBC News. “I pinch myself thinking I’m going to wake up from this and you don’t. It’s an unbelievable loss.”
RELATED VIDEO: Texas ER Doctor and Mom Found Dead in Grand Canyon After Searching for Water for Children
Keira was at the center of a bitter custody battle, and her parents were next due in court on Feb. 20, CTV News reported, citing court documents.
Her death is being conducted by the police service’s homicide unit, but only because they handle any investigation involving a child under 5 years old, Anderson said. He added that the child’s death is not being considered a homicide investigation as of Monday afternoon.
“We’re going through cycles,” Viater told CBC News. “Cycles of shock, disbelief, pure grieving, anger.”
A GoFundMe page arranged in Keira’s memory remembers her as a “vibrant” child full of love for her younger brother.
The page said that any money donated would go toward a cause important to Keira.
“She’s a precious little girl,” her mom said. “Keira was absolutely a doll, an absolute angel, adored by absolutely everyone.”