The Canadian Press | July 18, 2017
GODS LAKE NARROWS, Man. — RCMP have issued a plea on social media for help from a small, isolated Manitoba community to find the killer in their midst.
Manitoba Mounties posted on their Facebook page Tuesday the story of Leah Anderson, a 15-year-old girl who was brutally slain and left on a snowy trail in Gods Lake Narrows, Man., in 2013.
Her body was in such bad shape it was initially thought she had been attacked by wolves or dogs, but eventually investigators concluded she had been viciously beaten.
At first, RCMP asked volunteers to submit DNA samples, conducted interviews and even did lie detector tests, but one by one the suspects were ruled out.
However, on Tuesday, Mounties posted they have made “significant advancements” in the investigation.
They said they have narrowed down the remaining suspects and determined that the killer was a male and known to Anderson, but said they need the Cree community to “come together” with any new information that might lead to an arrest.
Located 550 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, Gods Lake Narrows is accessible only by air or ice road in the winter.
The night Leah died started out as a typical one for the “bright, happy” teenager, Mounties said.
“Hey hey hey, you you you, how are you?” she kidded with a friend in her last post on Facebook.
She had planned to meet up with a buddy to go skating but the plans fell through so she headed toward the rink by herself at 7:30 p.m.
“Somewhere between her door and the arena, Leah met her killer,” said the RCMP. “He brutally beat her and left her dead on a snowmobile/walking trail.”
Her remains were found two days later.
“The popular, funny girl with so much potential was gone,” said the RCMP. “Not only was the community dealing with the grief of losing Leah, they had to come to terms with the brutal manner of her death and the fact that in their isolated community, where the ice road in and out was closed, the killer was still there.”
It was another blow for a family that had already endured much heartache. Leah’s father, Gilbert Duke, was slain when she was little, and she and her siblings went into foster care until an aunt and uncle in Gods Lake Narrows took them in.
In recent days, friends and relatives have been posting remembrances and pictures leading up to the RCMP’s announcement of a renewed push in the case.
For some, it has been tough.
“They say they have a suspect but shouldn’t because they have no actual evidence against him,” Eleanor Duke posted to the RCMP page. “I just want my sister to be at rest and for my family to get the justice she so truly deserves.”