Still reeling from the death of their father and longtime partner Kenneth Dabene earlier this week, the 52-year-old Ottawa man’s family arrived at the courthouse yesterday to see the face of the man accused in his death.

“I wanted to see his face,” Dabene’s daughter Tina Lapensee said tearfully.

It’s been a tough time for the family. Claude Doiron, the brother of Dabene’s partner, was also killed in a recent motorcycle collision.

“It’s been really, really difficult,” said Dabene’s longtime partner Rose Doiron. “You get so drained, you don’t know if you’ve got anything left.”

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, a bearded Gus Tavares, 47, appeared by video remand at the Ottawa courthouse yesterday. The judge adjourned the matter to next week.

Also at the courthouse was Dabene’s son Devin, his wife Debbi and their daughter Lily, and Dabene’s daughter Laura, whom he lived with.

“It hasn’t sunk in that he’s gone,” said Laura Dabene. “I still can’t go home.”

The family remembered the man they called “Papa Bear” as a hard worker. He was “a jack of all trades,” Laura said about her father, who worked in the restaurant business and in recycling, loved to draw and was very quiet.

Dabene was found beaten close to the Ottawa River near the Prince of Wales Bridge on the evening of July 18.

Tavares was originally charged with attempted murder, but the charge was changed to second-degree murder Monday after Dabene’s death. This is Ottawa’s fourth homicide of the year.

Right now, the family can’t understand what the circumstances were surrounding his death.

“It’s a mystery,” Doiron said.

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