Leamington, Ont., man shot, killed in Brazil

Dean Tiessen. (QMI AGENCY FILES)

Dean Tiessen. (QMI AGENCY FILES)

Randy Richmond/ QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:53 PM ET

LONDON, ONT - A southwestern Ontario businessman, who was a poster image for farming and a recognized leader in agricultural innovation, was shot and killed in Brazil, news reports say.

New Energy Farms president Dean Tiessen of Leamington, Ont., a married father of four children, was identified as the victim in what appears to be a botched carjacking.

Tiessen was on a 10-day trip to Brazil for meetings about the agri-business and shot twice Saturday, possibly as he moved to remove his seatbelt when ordered out of the vehicle by the armed suspects, who then fled, reports from Sao Paulo said.

According to the Sao Paulo reports, company chief executive Paul Carver, who was travelling in the car, tried to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

"Everybody is very, very devastated," said Urs Eggiman, a fellow director of the Ontario biomass producers co-operative.

"He was an incredible individual. He accomplished so much in such a short time. He was instrumental in all sorts of research and initiatives."

Victor Tiessen, the victim's uncle, told media the "family is in total shock."

"And the problem is we still don't know what actually happened," he said. "There's a lot of speculation out there."

For thousands of Ontarians, Tiessen was the face in the May 2009 Faces of Farming calendar, noted not only for a successful tomato, pepper and energy crop business shared with his brother, but also for keeping in shape "by chasing his four kids all under the age of six."

Tiessen received a Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence in 2011, honoured then for growing miscanthus, a perennial grass, a source of fuel for the family farm's greenhouse tomatoes.

Under the New Energy Farm banner, Tiessen began a global venture to grow the grasses, process them into dense pellets and market the pellets as fuel.


Videos

Photos