Bones discovered by volunteer searchers on banks of Red River

Jo Seenie stands next to the mat volunteers pulled from the river's edge. The mat appeared to be partly covered with blood, but there is no confirmation of this as of yet.

Jo Seenie stands next to the mat volunteers pulled from the river’s edge. The mat appeared to be partly covered with blood, but there is no confirmation of this as of yet. – CAROL SANDERS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Sep, 16, 2014

Police dispatched the identification unit to the banks of the Red River tonight after bones were discovered by volunteers searching for murdered and missing aboriginal women.

Duty Insp. Rick Lange with the Winnipeg Police Service said they’re unsure as to the origin of the bones, but they will be tested to determine “what they are from.”

Jo Seenie came in from Roseau River to search for missing women in the Red River Tuesday. She found some bones (foreground) along the shore at the end of Annabella Street. (JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

Jo Seenie came in from Roseau River to search for missing women in the Red River Tuesday. She found some bones (foreground) along the shore at the end of Annabella Street. (JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

“Could they be human?” asked searcher Jo Seenie from Roseau River First Nation. She said she and other volunteers are dragging the river as well as fanning out on foot along the banks looking for clues. Late this afternoon, one of them spotted some large bones exposed in the dried soil along the river at the end of Annabella Street, Seenie said.

She said no one is assuming they’re human remains, but the large bones, discovered off a busy bike trail along Waterfront Drive, look like they could be part of a leg.

A short time later, a long, black Commercial Floor Mat that appeared to be partly covered with blood, was pulled from the river’s edge near the Alexander Docks.

Volunteer Carla Bruyere said she was hesitant to call the police about the bones and the mat.

“I didn’t want to get any flak,” said Bruyere. “I wanted them to take it seriously.” As an aboriginal woman, she said she hasn’t always been taken seriously by police. On Tuesday, she got a different response.

“The young police officers were very supportive and good.”

Two police officers were sent to guard the scene. A member of the identification unit carrying camera equipment arrived early in the evening.

Volunteers rolled the mat out on the dock and were waiting for police to check it out after they’d dealt with the bones, said Seenie.

She said she is volunteering in the search for Sandra Murray who would be 54 now.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Murray’s daughter, Bernadine Thompson. “There’s a lot of secrets in this river.”

Thompson said she’s not sure if the bones found near the docks are human or that it’s the blood of a person that discoloured the mat.

She was both hopeful and dreading that some remains of the missing women had been found.

“I’m hopeful a body is found to have some closure,” said Thompson. “At the same time, you don’t want to have confirmation that it’s your loved one.”

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/Bones-discovered-by-volunteer-searchers-on-banks-of-Red-River–275385901.html

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