The man and woman accused of first-degree murder in the firearm-related death of Killarney man Brant Burke in October are his estranged wife and brother, the Nipissing West OPP have confirmed to Sudbury.com.
Brant Burke’s body was discovered a month ago, on Oct. 25, on a trail in the Point Grondine Reserve off Highway 637, the road that leads to the hamlet of Killarney.
Police were responding to what was termed "a sudden death" at the time.
In an earlier news release, OPP revealed that a post-mortem examination confirmed the cause of death was a firearm-related injury.
After an extensive investigation, Ontario Provincial Police said two people were arrested and charged this week.
Brant Burke’s brother, 58-year-old Kerry Burke of Killarney, was charged with first degree murder, as was his estranged wife, 39-year-old Melissa Sheridan of Sudbury.
The deceased man’s obituary said he is the father of four and grandfather of two. According to social media posts, two of these kids appear to be his children with Melissa Sheridan.***
Melissa Sheridan and Kerry Burke are listed in the obituary as his wife and brother, respectively.
The obituary describes Brant Burke as an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed fishing, hunting and spending time with his children.
“He was an extremely generous person with a giving heart,” said the obituary. “His family and friends will cherish forever the many wonderful memories.”
A funeral was held at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Killarney Nov. 2.
One of the accused in the murder, Melissa Sheridan, has had some profile within the Greater Sudbury community in recent years. She was the park leader with Kivi Park for several years, but sources confirm she parted ways with the organization in 2019.
The woman is also the owner of CRCS Recreation, a playground design and consultant business. In 2017, she was presented with a 40 Under Forty Award.
Police said both Melissa Sheridan and Kerry Burke are being held in custody and are scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice-Bail Court (video conferencing) on Dec. 8 in Sudbury.
The OPP also revealed that the charges follow a joint forces investigation that was conducted by Wikwemikong Tribal Police, with the assistance of the Nipissing West OPP Crime Unit, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), and the OPP Forensic Identification Service (FIS) under the direction of the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB).
With the investigation still underway, police are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or their nearest police authority.
Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit information online at www.sudburycrimestoppers.com, where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000.
***An earlier version of this story contained the names of Brant Burke's children. That information has been removed.