A woman is dead and a man is in hospital with severe brain damage after they slept in a car. 

Nancy Mailman and Travis Tremblay were found in the car on Vault Road, near Kingston, N.S., early Thursday morning, Jan. 21. The couple’s dog also died in the car.

Travis Tremblay and his dog. — Photo: Facebook

Chace Melvin, Tremblay’s son, said neighbours called concerned about the vehicle sitting there with the windows up and police came and broke the windows.

“They [pronounced] his girlfriend and dog deceased on scene,” Melvin said in a Facebook message Friday.

Chace Melvin with his father, Travis Tremblay. — Photo: Facebook

Melvin said police believed his father was overdosing and gave him naloxone. He’s been in hospital since. On Monday, another one of Tremblay’s children, Santannah Melvin, said he was still in hospital, breathing on his own, but left with severe brain damage.

Chace Melvin says the car had a leaky exhaust, and that Tremblay wouldn’t have slept in the car, which he’d recently bought, if he’d known it had a leaky exhaust.

The Examiner has not been able to verify the cause of Mailman’s death or Melvin’s injuries. The RCMP confirmed on Friday they “are investigating a non-suspicious sudden death in the Valley,” but provided no further details.

“Given the nature of the file it is not something that we would [be] doing a release on or providing any more information,” spokesperson Cpl. Mark Skinner wrote in an email to the Examiner.

Multiple people posted on Facebook about Mailman on Friday.

“A day ago unfortunately Nancy was homeless and was living in her car and her boyfriend and her dog all succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning,” wrote Kevin E Awalt. 

Russ Sanche, the executive director of Portal Youth Outreach in Kentville, which works with youth at risk, hadn’t heard about the deaths but said homelessness is an issue in the Annapolis Valley.

Sanche said a recent point-in-time count found there were nearly 250 people across the Valley who were either “precariously housed, at risk of being homeless, or homeless.”

“That could include someone couch surfing or staying temporarily with friends, or rough living, like in a car,” Sanche said in an interview.

“Very clearly, it’s not just the city. It’s in rural Nova Scotia and it’s more hidden in rural Nova Scotia … and potentially ridden with a little bit more shame because everyone knows everyone so you’re not going to disclose that quite so easily, so it’s a harder issue to uncover.”

The Halifax Examiner is an advertising-free, subscriber-supported news site. Your subscription makes this work possible; please subscribe.

Some people have asked that we additionally allow for one-time donations from readers, so we’ve created that opportunity, via the PayPal button below. We also accept e-transfers, cheques, and donations with your credit card; please contact iris “at” halifaxexaminer “dot” ca for details.

Thank you!

Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

Join the Conversation


Only subscribers to the Halifax Examiner may comment on articles. We moderate all comments. Be respectful; whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims. Please read our Commenting Policy.
  1. Yup “we are all in this together.” Whoever started that BS saying and those who propagate it are seriously out of touch with reality.