Body recovered from Red River in Winnipeg identified as missing Indigenous woman

April Carpenter is shown in a Winnipeg Police Service handout photo.

Family is calling on anyone with information to speak up

The body of a woman recovered from the Red River in Winnipeg has been identified as 23-year-old April Carpenter.

According to media reports, family members and police confirmed April’s identity.

The police underwater search and recovery unit pulled her body from the Red River on Wednesday afternoon.

It’s not clear how April died and an autopsy is pending.

She was reported missing on April 27.

Carolyn Carpenter, April’s mother, wanted people to know her daughter’s body was found.

Carolyn Carpenter, spoke briefly to media Thursday. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Her family is calling on anyone with information to speak up.

“We don’t believe that it was April’s choice to be in the river,” said Billy Dubery, a spokesman for the family.

Member of the legislature Nahanni Fontaine posted on Facebook encouraging anyone with information to come forward “so we can find justice for April.”

April is described as Indigenous, with light brown shoulder length hair and noticeable dimples. Investigators are looking to speak with anyone who may have had contact with her on the evening of April 26 and beyond.

A vigil will be held in memory of April Carpenter, on Friday, 7pm at the Bell Tower on Selkirk Ave and Powers Street.

In 2014, Tina Fontaine, 15, was found in the Red River. A jury found Raymond Cormier not guilty of second-degree murder in her death in February.

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A year after girl killed, Navajo Nation to get alert system

A year after girl killed, Navajo Nation to get alert system. (AP Photo)

More than a year after a Native American girl was killed and her tribe was criticized for not having an alert system in place when children go missing, the Navajo Nation has signed a contract to purchase the software it needed to get the notification system running by the end of this month.

The tribe, whose reservation is the largest in the U.S. and spans three western states, came under fierce criticism in 2016 after 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike was reported missing. She never made it home from her school bus stop and was found dead the next day, killed by a stranger who sexually assaulted her and struck her twice in the head with a crowbar.

An Amber Alert that would have sent information about her via cellphone messages and information to the media did not go out until the day she was found. The case raised questions about gaps in communication and coordination between tribal and local law enforcement.

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said Wednesday that the new notification system will help make life safer on the vast reservation.

“We always pray that we will never have another abduction, but we need this in place so that the whole nation can be alert and help make sure that a child is recovered safely and quickly,” he said in a statement.

This May 6, 2016 file photo shows a portrait of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike, who was abducted and murdered in 2016. (AP Photo)

The tribe has relied on New Mexico, Arizona and Utah to activate Amber Alerts. Before an alert is issued, officers must go through a list of requirements to establish a case. If they meet the criteria, they can start the process of asking the states to issue an Amber Alert.

That procedure was used during Ashlynne’s abduction. Ashlynne’s father, Gary Mike, has sued the tribe, claiming it failed to send the alert about his daughter in a timely manner.

Prosecutors have said Ashlynne and her younger brother were lured into a van after the pair got off the bus and started walking home. The boy was left in the desert and later found his way to a highway, where he was picked up and authorities were notified.

The man convicted of the crime — Tom Begaye, no relation to Russell Begaye — was sentenced in October to life in prison.

Tom Begaye of Waterflow, N.M., was arrested in connection with 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike’s disappearance and death via AP

After the abduction, Navajo officials began working on getting federal approvals and training for an alert system. It then took several months to acquire funding to purchase the software.

Once the new system is installed, it will be managed by the Navajo Department of Emergency Management.

The tribe will be able to push alerts over radio, television and text messaging to 11 counties within the reservation’s borders.

Ashlynne’s case drew the attention of elected officials, including U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who sponsored legislation to expand the Amber Alert system in Native American communities across the nation.

McCain has called the case devastating, saying that FBI data shows more than 7,500 Native American children have been listed as missing in the U.S.

The measure is pending in the House after getting Senate approval two weeks ago. It has the bipartisan support of lawmakers from Montana, New Mexico and North Dakota.

“This is part of a broader effort to raise awareness and bring better systems of justice to Indian Country and to give law enforcement agencies at all levels the tools they need to prevent crime and bring criminals to justice,” said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota and a co-sponsor of the bill.

 Associated Press

[SOURCE]

Manitoba Families of Missing, Murdered Say Hearings Must Go Ahead

An open letter signed by officials with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Manitoba Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Coalition says the hearings have been long in coming and families are anxious. (Francis Vachon/The Canadian Press)

Staff | The Canadian Press – April 25, 2017

A coalition that represents Manitoba family members says national hearings into missing and murdered indigenous women must begin soon despite the uncertainty surrounding the process.

An open letter signed by officials with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Manitoba Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Coalition says the hearings, slated to begin at the end of May, have been long in coming and families are anxious.

“Indigenous families, women and girls cannot afford a ‘pause’ in your process. We have heard directly from families of (missing and murdered indigenous women) they are quickly losing hope that your inquiry will actually be relevant to them,” states the letter, dated last Wednesday.

“We call on you to, at a minimum, announce in the near future when you, as commissioners, will finally go out and listen to our people.”

Inquiry officials announced April 13 that they were postponing a series of regional advisory meetings, which were supposed to help determine what issues should be covered when the formal hearings get underway.

Since then, the Manitoba coalition said there has been no communication. The group is also worried many family members may have a hard time being included in the hearings.

“You have not yet initiated meetings with Manitoba survivors of violence or who were missing, families of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, as well as First Nations and communities that are part of your mandate,” the letter states.

A spokesperson for the inquiry commission said Monday the advisory hearings were put on pause to look at possible changes for the inquiry hearings, and the May start date is still a go.

“The message we received is that we must be flexible and be prepared to change course if need be. This time is an opportunity for us to reflect on our approach for future truth-finding gatherings,” Tiar Wilson wrote in an email.

The uncertainty over how families across Canada may be ensured participation in the inquiry has led some indigenous leaders to call for the inquiry to be postponed.

Eric Robinson, former deputy premier and aboriginal affairs minister of Manitoba, said a delay is warranted to ensure the inquiry is fair and thorough.

“Let’s not do a job that’s in half-measures. I think that it’s got to be done in a thorough fashion and there’s got to be satisfaction … for the families,” Robinson said.

Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson, who represents First Nations in northern Manitoba, said the process so far has been troublesome.

“I still believe that it should take place and that they should go forward and I respect the fact that they’re being flexible,” she said.

“But at the same time, I’m worried that the families … are losing a little bit of faith in the process because there seem to be some false starts.”

[SOURCE]

RCMP Say Highway Of Tears Killers May Never Be Caught

RCMP continue to investigate the deaths and disappearances of 18 young women along a 720 km stretch of northern B.C. dubbed the Highway of Tears. (Contributed/RCMP)

RCMP continue to investigate the deaths and disappearances of 18 young women along a 720 km stretch of northern B.C. dubbed the Highway of Tears. (Contributed/RCMP)

“We’ve turned over every stone we can” – RCMP

CBC News Posted: Oct 17, 2016

A decade after the launch of the RCMP’s high profile Highway of Tears investigation into missing and murdered women in northern B.C., police admit they may never find the killers or make more arrests.

‘Perhaps they’ll never be solved’

“I’ve been honest with our [victims’] families and I say perhaps they’ll never be solved,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Wayne Clary of the E-PANA unit, told CBC host Anna Maria Tremonti during a townhall on missing and murdered women packed with several hundred people in Prince George Thursday night.

For a decade, E-PANA has been investigating the cold case deaths and disappearances of 18 young women along a 720 km street of northern B.C. dubbed the Highway of Tears.  PANA is an Inuit word for the god who cared for souls in the underworld.

At the height of E-PANA’s work, 70 people worked the investigation. Now, just 8 investigators are left.

“That’s the reality and that’s what I tell the families,” said Clary. “We can’t keep that going forever when there’s no work.”

Women pore over a map that marks deaths and disappearances along the Highway of Tears. (Contributed/UBCIC)

Women pore over a map that marks deaths and disappearances along the Highway of Tears. (Contributed/UBCIC)

RCMP have named 2 suspects in 4 women’s deaths

E-PANA was launched in 2006 amidst outrage over the number of deaths and disappearances of mostly Indigenous young women in northern B.C.

Indigenous leaders said 50 girls and women had been murdered or gone missing between Prince George and Prince Rupert since 1970.

E-PANA took on 18 of those cases, re-interviewing witnesses and families, following new leads and tips, and converting 700 bankers boxes of dusty police files into a searchable database.

Officers have identified a suspect in three of the murders, but that man is now dead. A different man has been charged with the death of Monica Jack, but that Highway of Tears case is still before the courts.

Still, many families are still waiting for answers and justice for their missing and murdered loved ones.

“We care and we’re trying and we’ll keep following up on the tips and interviews that come in,” said Clary.

‘These …are the toughest to investigate’

“These kinds of stranger-on-stranger investigations are the toughest to investigate,especially in this area, where it’s very isolated, it’s very lonely. A lot of these crimes happened a long time ago.  Some of our victims don’t get found, some don’t get found right away, and evidence is lost,” said Clary.

“Witnesses die. They may or may not know they had important information and [now] we’ll never retrieve it.  In some cases, some of the men who committed these crimes are dead,” said Clary.

Still, Clary says when victim’s families hold vigils or walk the Highway of Tears, the media attention often triggers a spike of tips to police.

“It’s important to keep this alive,” Clary said.

"Killer on the Loose!' is the warning on a prominent billboard beside Highway 16 in northern B.C., where numerous young women have died or disappeared. (CBC )

“Killer on the Loose!’ is the warning on a prominent billboard beside Highway 16 in northern B.C., where numerous young women have died or disappeared. (CBC )

‘I imagine 50 women missing from West Vancouver’

“It’s the people from the communities that are going to solve these crimes,” he said. “We’ve turned over every stone we can.”

“Who’s protecting our young Indigenous girls and women?” asked Mary Teegee, the Director of Child and Family Services at Carrier Sekani Family Services in Prince George. “I often imagine 50 women missing from West Vancouver. What would be the outcry? For one thing, the [death toll] would never reach that in West Vancouver.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/rcmp-say-mmiw-highway-of-tears-missing-and-murdered-women-cases-may-never-be-solved-1.3805609

First Nations Chiefs Sign Agreement With RCMP To Address Racism Within Force

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, left, signs a memorandum of understanding with RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, during the AFN annual general assembly in Niagara Falls, Ont., on July 12, 2016. (Chris Glover/CBC)

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, left, signs a memorandum of understanding with RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, during the AFN annual general assembly in Niagara Falls, Ont., on July 12, 2016. (Chris Glover/CBC)

Annual gathering of Indigenous chiefs goes today through Thursday in Niagara Falls, Ont.

By Susana Mas, CBC News Posted: Jul 12, 2016

The Assembly of First Nations signed an agreement with the RCMP on Tuesday to address racism and discrimination within the force as the two sides look for new ways to improve relations ahead of the federal government’s inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.

The memorandum of understanding comes just over six months after RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson openly admitted during the Special Chiefs in Assembly last December there are “racists” inside his police force.

“We invited the commissioner back again … to be part of this MOU… about how can we work together to deal with issues, deal with all those misconceptions that are within the police,” said National Chief Perry Bellegarde as the AFN kicked off its three-day annual general meeting in Niagara Falls, Ont.

“How can we work together to make sure that that air is cleared, that cloud is gone, that there is a bright sunny way within that RCMP?,” Bellegarde said.

While the government is not expected to launch an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women during the assembly, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett told First Nations chiefs it is “very close” to making that announcement.

Bellegarde said an inquiry will force police to answer some difficult questions about the force’s own shortcomings.

“When the inquiry is announced, be prepared, because you will come under question and focus about why did you not put more resources into these things upon investigation… why was there not more respect for the families, why was there not more communication? All these things are going to come out.”

“There is still a lot of hurt, still a lot of pain with the families that are still looking for closure,” Bellegarde said.

The national chief said the launch of a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women could come later this month, or next month.

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde signs a memorandum of understanding with Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett during the AFN annual general assembly in Niagara Falls, Ont., on July 12, 2016. (Chris Glover/CBC)

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde signs a memorandum of understanding with Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett during the AFN annual general assembly in Niagara Falls, Ont., on July 12, 2016. (Chris Glover/CBC)

In his opening remarks, Bellegarde said Indigenous communities are “gaining momentum” — the theme of this year’s general assembly.

“It doesn’t mean all of our issues have been solved. But what it does mean is that, for the first time in a very long time, there is reason to believe that we are on the cusp of great change,” Bellegarde said.

“But it will take all of us, working together, to make it real for everyone.”

Bellegarde said the AFN also signed a memorandum of understanding with the federal government “to create a new fiscal relationship, one based on real needs.”

The AFN signed the MOU with Bennett to form a working group to advise the government on how it should move forward with funding for Indigenous communities.

The agreement follows the Trudeau government’s pledge to forge a new fiscal relationship with First Nations.

First Nations to benefit from Hydro One shares

The general assembly began with Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day announcing that First Nations communities in Ontario will benefit from the sale of Hydro One shares.

“As of 9 a.m. this morning, the province of Ontario has entered into an agreement in principle will all 133 First Nations communities to sell 15 million shares of Hydro One for our collective benefit,” Day said in his opening remarks.

Some eight months ago, Ontario began the biggest sell-off of a Canadian crown corporation in 20 years.

Chiefs will also hash out strategies for moving beyond the Indian Act, the primary legislation used by the federal government to administer everything from laws to membership and elections in First Nation communities.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is also scheduled to attend the assembly.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with chiefs at a 2015 AFN gathering, his office told CBC he will not be attending the general assembly in Niagara Falls this week.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/afn-meeting-niagara-falls-1.3674114

 

Hitch Hikers Warned As Search Continues For Two Missing People Near Swan River

Lorlene Bone, 31, was last reported seen in Sapotaweyak Cree Nation on Feb. 29. (Family photo)

Lorlene Bone, 31, was last reported seen in Sapotaweyak Cree Nation on Feb. 29. (Family photo)

Both Lorlene Bone and Corey Chartrand disappeared from Sapotaweyak Cree Nation within a matter of months

CBC News Posted: May 24, 2016

As family and friends search for two people who disappeared from the same Manitoba community within a span of just two months, they are warning others to avoid hitch-hiking for fears more people could go missing.

Both Lorlene Bone and Corey Chartrand vanished without a trace from the Swan River, Man. area. Both were last seen in Sapotaweyak Cree Nation, a first nation’s community about 400 km northwest of Winnipeg.

Bone hasn’t been seen since the end of February and Chartrand since the end of April.

Robin Genaille is cousins with both people. She’s been helping lead a ground search that started for Bone in March.

“The first 60 days was the hardest for everybody,” she said. “They [family] were all frustrated. It gets to the point where you try to calm people down.”

Genaille said she’s sought help to keep herself calm and focused while searching. She said the immediate families of both Bone and Chartrand are leading their own searches, but frequently check in with one another.

Corey Michael Chartrand was last seen April 30. (Manitoba RCMP.)

Corey Michael Chartrand was last seen April 30. (Manitoba RCMP.)

Talking to hitch hikers

She’s also stopped and talked to people she sees hitchhiking along Highway 10 near the community to remind them to be careful and to encourage them to find other ways of getting around.

“I pick them up, sit there, all I tell them is ‘There are two people missing in our area. You should not be hitchhiking,'” Genaille said. “I’m trying to get them closer to their destination. I’d rather them be safe than sorry.”

“I was always afraid to pick up hitchikers.”

She doesn’t know if her message is getting across but hopes more people get concerned.

“I have older kids. I tell my 20-year-old ‘these are grown people that are missing … a grown woman and a grown man that can keep for themselves, obviously something is wrong here’,” Genaille said.

Facebook page started

She said a Facebook page, called Let’s find Lorlene Bone, has now been started in an effort to drum up more leads. Genaille said the family is also hoping to offer a reward for tips in the near future.

She said the plan is to continue searching for any trace of Bone and Chartrand.

RCMP said Friday that both people are still missing.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/hitch-hiker-warning-swan-river-1.3592500?cmp=abfb

OPP Confirm Body Found In Kenora Is Missing Teen Delaine Copenace

The remains of Delaine Copenace, 16, were found by City of Kenora employees shortly after ‎8 a.m. Tuesday at the end of Water Street, Ontario Provincial Police say. (Facebook)

The remains of Delaine Copenace, 16, were found by City of Kenora employees shortly after ‎8 a.m. Tuesday at the end of Water Street, Ontario Provincial Police say. (Facebook)

By Red Power Media, Staff

Body of Delaine Copenace found, OPP confirm

A body found Tuesday morning has been identified as 16-year-old Delaine Copenace, missing since late February.

City of Kenora employees, discovered human remains shortly after 8 a.m. in the Lake of the Woods area at the end of Water Street.

Kenora Daily Miner and News reports, Police restricted access to the waterfront area while the OPP North West Region Crime Unit and the OPP Forensic Identification Services Unit investigated the scene.

Onlookers gather on Water Street as Kenora detachment OPP investigate a report of human remains located in Lake of the Woods, Tuesday morning, March 22. REG CLAYTON/Miner and News

Onlookers gather on Water Street as Kenora detachment OPP investigate a report of human remains located in Lake of the Woods, Tuesday morning, March 22. REG CLAYTON/Miner and News

The Ontario Provincial Police confirmed the body was Copenace.

Tbnewswatch reports, the identity of the body was released to the media in the early afternoon.

Police in Ontario have released little information and the cause of death has not been disclosed.

Copenace’s body is being sent to Toronto where the Office of the Chief Coroner and Forensic Pathology Services will conduct an examination.

The investigation, which is being conducted by the OPP’s criminal investigations branch and forensic identification services unit, is ongoing.

Delaine Copenace Search: Volunteers Step Up After Police Suspend Search

'We need the help, we need the people out there looking,' says volunteer search coordinator Amanda Freeman. (Martine Laberge/Radio-Canada)

‘We need the help, we need the people out there looking,’ says volunteer search coordinator Amanda Freeman. (Martine Laberge/Radio-Canada)

CBC News Posted: Mar 15, 2016

‘When your heart is in it, you’re going to give it your all,’ volunteer coordinator says

Volunteers in Kenora, Ont. continue their efforts to find missing teen Delaine Copenace after provincial police suspended their ground and underwater search on Monday.

Copenace, 16, was last seen in downtown Kenora on Feb. 27.

Dozens of volunteers continue to fan out across city and beyond, looking for the teen, said search coordinator Amanda Freeman, adding she was surprised to hear on social media about the change by police.

“It bothered me,” she said. “I’ve been sitting here really, really frustrated for the last little bit since I found out and I want to know what their next steps are.”

Police said they have thoroughly searched the downtown area and will continue to canvass residences and solicit tips from the public.

Freeman said more volunteers are needed now that the police are less involved in the search.

“We need the help, we need the people out there looking, sweeping areas with us,” she said.

The group has been active for 15 days now, Freeman said and morale remains high even as fatigue sets in.

“It’s definitely hard,” she said. “But when your heart is in it, you’re going to give it your all.”

missing-poster-for-delaine-copenace

(Canadian Centre for Child Protection)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/delaine-copenace-volunteers-police-search-1.3491212

Search For Kenora Girl Expands To Winnipeg With Help From Bear Clan

Winnipeg's Bear Clan Patrol put up posters in the North End on Thursday night. The missing 16-year-old lived in Kenora but was known to visit friends and family in Winnipeg. (CBC/Justin Fraser)

Winnipeg’s Bear Clan Patrol put up posters in the North End on Thursday night. The missing 16-year-old lived in Kenora but was known to visit friends and family in Winnipeg. (CBC/Justin Fraser)

By Laura Glowacki, CBC News Posted: Mar 03, 2016

Delaine Copenace, 16, was last seen on Saturday around 6 p.m. in Kenora

The search for missing Kenora teenager, Delaine Copenace, has expanded to Winnipeg.

The 16-year-old was last seen Saturday around 6 p.m. in downtown Kenora. Since the weekend, the search for Copenace had concentrated in the small Ontario city and outlying areas, including Lake of the Woods.

On Thursday evening members of the Bear Clan Patrol brought the search to Winnipeg after being approached by Copenace’s cousin Anthony Copenace and friend Aaron Paul on Facebook.

“I knew the best plan of action was to reach out to Bear Clan,” said Paul.

The Copenace family are very concerned for her wellbeing, said Paul. The teen has never gone missing before and has never run away. Her mother, Anida Fisher, describes Copenace as a “homebody.”

“She’s more reserved … more of a quieter, gentler soul,” said cousin Anthony Copenace, who lives in Winnipeg and helped with the search on Friday.

Cousin

Delaine Copenace’s cousin Anthony Copenace said it’s very unusual for her to go missing. He described the Kenora 16-year-old as quiet and gentle. (CBC/Justin Fraser)

Bear Clan volunteers focused the search in Winnipeg’s North End near Selkirk Avenue, an area Copenace was known to visit when she was in town.

Organizer Justin Brown said everyone has a responsibility to keep an eye out when a young person is missing.

“I think the community effort is very important,” he said. “The effort for example that we made with Cooper [Nemeth] was incredible.”

First Nations communities have raised $8,000 for anyone with information about Copenace’s whereabouts.

Copenace is described by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) as having a larger build, with brown eyes and long black hair. She was last seen wearing black boots, a black jacket, a “Bullet for my Valentine” T-shirt and black jeans with zippered pockets.

Police are asking anyone with information to call Kenora OPP at 1-888-310-1122.

missing-poster-for-delaine-copenace

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/search-for-kenora-girl-expands-to-winnipeg-with-help-from-bear-clan-1.3475571

 

Two People Enter Not Guilty Pleas In Murder Of Emily Blue Bird

Emily Blue Bird

Emily Blue Bird

By Red Power Media, Staff

Two people accused of murdering a Pine Ridge woman pleaded not guilty

A man and a woman from Pine Ridge charged in the death of Emily Blue Bird on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation have pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court on Friday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 23-year-old Elizabeth LeBeau is charged with first-degree murder, and 29-year-old Fred Quiver is charged with being an accessory. Quiver also goes by Fred Brings Plenty.

Blue Bird, a 24-year-old mother of two was missing for nearly three weeks. Her body was discovered in a creek near Pine Ridge.

Frustrated by a lack of progress in the search by law enforcement, Carla Cheyenne, Blue Bird’s aunt, said her husband, Tom, chairman of the Grassroots Chapter of the American Indian Movement, organized the search party that found her body on Jan 21st.

The relationship between LeBeau and Quiver isn’t clear. It’s also not clear how they knew Blue Bird.