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The Suspects

The goal of every proper criminal investigation involving death is to ascertain firstly if death was caused by accident or by plan. If an accident, was it due to negligence or simply mischance? If death resulted from a plot, the task is to isolate a guilty party from among what might be a vast array of possible culprits. In 1924 and over the many decades since, police and investigators have been unable to definitively resolve either of those two main problems in the death of Peter Verigin.

First reports about the disaster on the Kettle Valley Line near Farron pointed to accident being the cause of the explosion that killed nine people in CPR Car 1586. And there are people who know the case well today who believe this to be the correct explanation. Others at the time and since have argued that the explosion was the result of a calculated scheme. Since Peter Verigin was by far the most prominent individual among those who died, most attention has turned to who might have wanted him dead and why.

There were many possible candidates. Verigin’s high handedness and power made enemies. But no less important, he was the highly-visible head of a social, cultural and economic movement that some people distrusted and even hated. The possible conspirators against him ranged from fellow Doukhobors immediately at hand to broader political and personal competitors half a world away. In this section we see the most important documents that point to the various possible causes of the explosion and to the various possible conspirators if indeed the explosion was a conspiracy.

What do you think?