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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Constable woman slain; teen son arrested.

     

    Karen L. Bourdon, a well-known and respected counselor at Malone Central School District, was killed early Monday morning in her home.

    Her son, Dilan E. Clark, 14, was arrested; State Police Bureau of Investigation says the charge will likely be second-degree murder.

    Police did not release information on how Bourdon died but said an autopsy was scheduled for today in Albany.

    Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague has been called in as special prosecutor, police said, because Franklin County D.A. Derek Champagne has a close, personal relationship with the family.

    HUSBAND AWAY

    Bourdon’s 14-year-old daughter made the 911 call at 2:01 a.m. that brought police to the house, prepared to take care of an assault in progress.

    They arrived to find Bourdon, 45, dead, police said at a press conference Monday. Her daughter was unharmed.

    Police said Clark fled but was found at 6:33 a.m., sitting outside another home on Route 30, about a mile away.

    The people who live there don’t know him, police said.

    Bourdon’s husband, Ron Clark, a volunteer firefighter, was in Saranac Lake helping flood victims when his wife was killed.

    ‘BAFFLED’

    The couple met at school, where Bourdon was a counselor and Clark taught math for many years, said Wayne Walbridge, superintendent of Malone Central School District.

    She had worked for the district for eight or nine years; she’d been an adjunct professor of English at Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh before that.

    Walbridge spoke of Bourdon as an amazing woman who inspired students and adults alike.

    Walbridge and his wife, Michelle, are very close to the Bourdon-Clark family. Bourdon, he said, attended the baptism of his grandson on Sunday.

    “”I guess the thing that gets you through this,”” he said from his office Monday, “”is … Karen would be saying to me, our administrative staff, our parents, don’t worry about me — take care of our students.””

    Walbridge’s wife, Michelle, had been baby-sitter for Dilan and his sister when they were younger.

    “”He’s a good kid,”” Walbridge said of Dilan. “”I’m baffled.””

    CANCER SURVIVOR

    Walbridge and staff called on some of the strength Bourdon exhibited throughout her life as they conducted school as normally as they could Monday for the sake of the students.

    Bourdon was about 9 when her mother died of cancer; she, herself, survived cancer, returning to school long before anyone would have expected, Walbridge said.

    Her hair, lost to chemotherapy, hadn’t grown back yet, he remembered.

    “”She didn’t care.

    “”You couldn’t go around the world and find any better person than she was.””

    LEGACY

    Bourdon had spearheaded the effort to involve the district in Rachel’s Challenge, a program created in memory of Rachel Scott, the first victim of the Columbine shootings.

    It aims to establish a safe learning environment for all students by “”delivering proactive antidotes to school violence and bullying,”” the website says.

    “”A few staff members this morning, in tears, said we will do even more than we would have done if she were here with us”” to make the charity a district focus, Walbridge said.

    “”It’s going to be part of her legacy.””

    NEIGHBORS SHOCKED

    The couple’s home, a white ranch with maroon shutters, is located about a mile and a half south of where Route 30 intersects with Route 122.

    News of the tragedy shocked neighbors.

    Edie Gallien, who lives across the street, said Bourdon was extremely nice.

    “”I’ve never seen anybody as sweet as her,”” she said. “”I don’t understand how somebody could get so mad and do that.””

    Gallien said she had heard that Dilan was upset about losing use of his cell phone because of poor grades, but she didn’t know that for fact.

    She said Dilan and his sister would often visit and play with her grandchildren, and they seemed like nice kids.

    Her husband, Ronnie Gallien, wasn’t so sure.

    “”He (Dilan) just seemed a little odd to me,”” Mr. Gallien said.

    Mrs. Gallien said the incident shook her up badly.

    “”I’ve been upset about this all day. It broke my heart,”” she said.

    “”Karen was always very nice, and now, in just a matter of a few minutes, everybody’s life is changed forever.””

    TOO CLOSE TO HOME

    Holly Reome lives a few doors down from where Dilan was found by police.

    When she left for her job at Price Chopper in Malone shortly before 7 a.m. Monday, she saw police cars a bit farther down the road, in front of the Bourdon-Clark house.

    “”It’s scary to think that something like that happened so close to us,”” Reome said. “”You don’t expect something like that would ever happen in our community.””

    She did not know Bourdon or her kids but had stopped at their house during garage sales a few times.

    “”I just don’t know what could make a kid so angry that he would do something like that to his parent.””

    ‘INSEPARABLE BOND’

    Monday, counselors throughout the Malone District were available for students, Walbridge said, including one who’d come to help from Brushton-Moria Central. Local clergy offered assistance. Other school districts and hospice contacted him about sending counselors.

    “”We’re trying to do our best,”” the superintendent said.

    Dilan and his sister are students at Holy Family School in Malone, Walbridge said, where counselors were also ministering to the children.

    Again, they are doing what Bourdon would have done.

    “”She helped thousands and thousands of children”” in her career, Walbridge said.

    He couldn’t fathom what had happened.

    “”I know that (Dilan) loved his mother, and I know that he loved his father, loved his sister …

    “”They had an inseparable bond.””

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