When Andrew Centennial Gordon Kinsman was five years old, he wanted to be a paleontologist.
The youngest of his family, Kinsman’s older sisters were fond of doting on him. Since the day their mother brought him home and let them hold him, Patricia Kinsman and Karen Coles treated him like a live doll they got to play with.
So when Andrew expressed his desire to be paleontologist, Coles decided to nurture that impulse.
“My boyfriend and I, at the time, got a leg bone from a cow and we buried it in the backyard,” she says. “And then we suggested to him that there could be dinosaur bones buried out there.”
And the youngest Kinsman searched and searched and searched until he found it.
“The look on his face was priceless,” Coles says.
That memory — of a curious child dreaming big dreams — was one of the first that Coles reached back to in the day since she found out her little brother had been murdered.
“I will remember Andrew as a young boy with long blonde hair and bangs, wearing his tie-dye t-shirts and embroidered blue jeans, riding his mini-bike on our mom’s property,” Patricia says. “Karen and I were like his second mothers.”
He grew up to be kind and frugal and dependable. And it was because of that nature that when Andrew didn’t come home during Pride weekend last year, Patricia started immediately preparing herself for the worst.
“He would never have left his 17-year-old cat in the apartment alone without food and water for three days,” she says.
In the days since Andrew vanished without a trace last June, Patricia and Karen have searched relentlessly for their little brother.
“We looked for him in the heat, and in the rain, and in the snow,” Patricia says. They went through parks and trails and ravines fearing the worst, but maintaining some level of hope.
Through the exhaustive searches, they got to know Andrew a little bit better. By meeting his friends, his neighbours, his coworkers and even complete strangers, they learned just how beloved he was by his community.
And they also saw more of what the whole of the community looks like.
They met homeless men living in tents and a young man sleeping under a bridge surrounded by bottles.
“We met a transgender person who was afraid of living in a shelter and she had been assaulted and robbed,” Patricia says. “She lived under a bridge. We bought her lunch.”
But they never found Andrew. And even now that they have the peace of knowing that he isn’t somewhere out there, lonely and in pain, they still don’t have his body.
For Bruce McArthur, the man accused by police of murdering Andrew and Selim Esen, Patricia has no words.
“I wouldn’t waste my time,” she says. “I wouldn’t say anything to him.”
Shelley Kinsman, another older sister, knows that Andrew loved life and loved his community.
“Andrew was the best of the best,” she says. “I want those who were part of Andrew’s life in Toronto, to say thank you to them.”
“It showed you share my love for Andrew.”