Tag Archives: Red River

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.

Drag The Red Sets Out On New Boat To Search Fast-Moving Waters


Drag the Red sets out on new boat to search fast-moving waters

Kayleen McKay, 18, raised nearly $16K to purchase the boat for the volunteer search

CBC News, July 18, 2016

Behind weeds growing from the riverbank and in the heat of mid-July, Kyle Kematch unwinds rope from a four foot-wide bar to attach to Drag the Red’s new boat.

He is one of few community members that volunteer their time to drag the Red River for traces of missing and murdered people.

Kyle Kematch sets out on Drag the Red's new boat on Monday evening. (CBC)

Kyle Kematch sets out on Drag the Red’s new boat on Monday evening. (CBC)

“It eases my mind to know I’m doing the best to find my sister. She’s been missing for six years now,” he said.

“In my eyes, everybody deserves to go home.”

The return home Kematch describes is synonymous with closure for families — particularly those with loved ones among 1,017 Indigenous women killed between 1980 and 2012 and 169 more listed as missing, the earliest case dating back to 1952.

The new boat, which an Indigenous elder blessed in a smudging ceremony on Monday, brings about renewed hope that families will get that closure, Kematch said.

“It’s hard knowing those answers might be at the bottom of the river but if they’re there, somebody has to go and try to find them,” he said.

Kayleen McKay, 18, bought a new boat for Drag the Red with nearly $16,000 she raised by running from Manitoba's Duck Bay to Winnipeg. (CBC)

Kayleen McKay, 18, bought a new boat for Drag the Red with nearly $16,000 she raised by running from Manitoba’s Duck Bay to Winnipeg. (CBC)

Kayleen McKay, 18, made her contribution to the search when she raised nearly $16,000 by running from Manitoba’s Duck Bay to Winnipeg in May. She bought the boat with the money.

In 2015, McKay’s cousin, Shawn Nepinak, took his own life by entering the river’s fast-moving waters.

“You don’t know what to think. You don’t know what to feel,” she said while describing what she remembers about searching the riverbanks as members of her family set out on the water with members of Drag the Red.

“I still think about [my cousin] every day. I still think of the good things even though he might have been seeing the darker side,” she said.

McKay’s father, Melvin Pangman, said he was proud of his daughter’s accomplishment, particularly in the aftermath of Nepinak’s death.

“It meant a lot to me that somebody was out there actually helping us,” he said, thinking back to before Nepinak’s body had washed up on the river’s shores and he was still considered missing.

“I didn’t know Kyle, I didn’t know Bernadette

[Smith, whose sister, Claudette Osborne, disappeared in 2008], but they truly cared. They could feel our pain.”

The side of Drag the Red's new boat reads, 'Shawn,' a reference to 18-year-old Kayleen McKay's cousin, Shawn Nepinak, who took his own life by entering the Red River in 2015. (CBC)

The side of Drag the Red’s new boat reads, ‘Shawn,’ a reference to 18-year-old Kayleen McKay’s cousin, Shawn Nepinak, who took his own life by entering the Red River in 2015. (CBC)

Now, Pangman volunteers with Drag the Red, trying to bring answers and closures to other families that are where he once was.

By early evening, the new boat was equipped with a four foot-wide bar with four lines on it, each with three to four hooks attached.

“We drag it along the bottom of the river and we go with the current,” Kematch said.

“As soon as you get a big snag it pretty much stops the boat.”

The only thing missing, Kematch said, is help from the police. When Smith and Kematch started the initiative, shortly after 15-year-old Tina Fontaine was found dead in the river, the Winnipeg Police Service indicated they would support the group by monitoring the safety of its members.

Less than two years later, police involvement has deteriorated to nothing, according to Kematch.

Bones, later determined not to be human, dentures, a gun and clothing are among the items the group has found.

No matter what comes up, encountering a snag never gets less taxing, according to Kematch.

“You don’t know what you’re hooking onto and lots of things go through your mind,” he said.

with files from Alana Cole and Courtney Rutherford


Archeologists Uncover Evidence Of Early Aboriginal Agriculture On The Red River

A team of archeologists are seen working at a site in Lockport, Man.

A team of archeologists are seen working at a site in Lockport, Man.

CTVNews.ca | June 21, 2016

A team of archeologists on the banks of the Red River have collected evidence that the First Nations people of the Prairies, long thought to be nomadic, were Canada’s first settled farmers.

The site, located in Lockport, Man., may well be the location of Canada’s earliest farm and the only known indigenous agricultural settlement in western Canada.

A group of nine anthropology students from the University of Manitoba helping with the research have made a number of exciting discoveries during the five-week dig, including fragments of pottery, bone, and tools dating as far back as 1200 A.D.

“They’re finding bits of ceramic, bits of bone fragments,” Robyn Neufeldt, an anthropology professor at the university, told CTV News. “We’ve actually found bone tools and an arrowhead.”

A group of nine anthropology students from the University of Manitoba found fragments of pottery, bone, and tools dating as far back as 1200 A.D. at the site in Lockport, Man.

A group of nine anthropology students from the University of Manitoba found fragments of pottery, bone, and tools dating as far back as 1200 A.D. at the site in Lockport, Man.

The artifacts will be sent to labs across Canada and the United States for further testing.

“(The site) roughly dates to the time of the Vikings,” said University of Manitoba archeology professor Robert Beardsell — a period known as “the medieval warming period.”

At that time, global temperatures were rising, particularly in the North Atlantic region. In North America, that meant nomadic tribes that had traditionally followed bison herds began to settle and started cultivating crops.

The Lockport site may well be Canada’s earliest example of this settlement process. Researchers say the Red River provided the settlers with fish, while fertile ground beside it made the prefect spot for growing crops.

“(The settlers) were certainly involved with corn and beans — probably squash and probably sunflowers as well,” said Leigh Syms, a former curator at the Manitoba Museum.

The current dig is considered the archeologists’ last chance to collect artifacts because the Red River is quickly eroding the land around it.

The team also has only a few days left before their permit to dig on provincial park land expires.

With a report from CTV’s Manitoba Bureau Chief Jill Macyshon


Metis Teen Finishes 420-km Run, Raises $10K For Group That Found Cousin’s Body

Kayleen McKay, 18, ran from Duck Bay to Winnipeg to raise money and better equip the Winnipeg search group Drag The Red.

Kayleen McKay, right, is greeted by her aunt, Judy Pangman, as she arrives at the Alexander Docks in Winnipeg, Tuesday. (John Woods / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

May 10, 2016

Metis Teen Finishes 420-km Run, Raises $10K For Drag The Red

WINNIPEG – A Metis teen who lost her cousin to suicide ran the equivalent of a marathon a day for 10 days to raise more than $10,000 for a volunteer group that helped find his body.

Kayleen McKay began her journey April 30 at the graveyard in Duck Bay on the west shore of Manitoba’s Lake Winnipegosis and finished Tuesday in Winnipeg.

Supporters greeted her with cheers and drumming just steps from the Red River where her cousin Shawn Nepinak’s body was found last summer by members of Drag The Red – volunteers who dredge the river searching for clues about missing and murdered loved ones.

“I wanted to give back to them,” said McKay, 18. “They could have easily turned their backs on us and been like, ‘No, we’re not going to help you. Leave it to the authorities.’ But they were there since Day 1.”

Drag The Red was formed after the body of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine was pulled from the river in 2014. Volunteers hoping to dig up clues about people who have vanished go out in boats equipped with hooks that comb the bottom of the river flowing through Winnipeg.

Drag the Red

Drag the Red

McKay’s aim was to raise $10,000. Donations are still coming in, but she has already exceeded her goal.

As she ran through western Manitoba, people would stop and give her money, she said. Many would tell her their own stories of loved ones who were missing or had been murdered. In the end, McKay said, she realized she was running for more than just herself or her cousin.

“It really touched my heart. Every time I heard a new story, I would just keep it in the back of my head. When I felt down, I would just think of them and their families. It gave me that push to keep going.”

Losing a cousin McKay considered a brother was not her first brush with tragedy. Her cousin, Carolyn Sinclair, 25, was murdered by serial killer Shawn Lamb in 2012.

Kimberley Kostiuk’s daughter was murdered 16 years ago. She joined Drag The Red three years ago as a way to channel her grief into helping others find closure.

The money McKay raised will help buy the group a much-needed boat, she said.

“It’s going to mean we’re going to be out there every day until we can’t go anymore.”

David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation, said McKay’s determination means other aboriginal youth have a strong role model at a time when many struggle with loss, despair and suicide.

“For change to occur, it has to happen in our own communities,” Chartrand said. “It’s going to take the youth to inspire the youth.

“She is obviously carrying the torch on this one.”

The Canadian Press


‘A Kid Isn’t Supposed To Go Before Her Mom’: Tina Fontaine’s Mother On Her Death

Tina Duck, the mother of Tina Fontaine, visits memorial to her daughter beside the Red River in Winnipeg on Tuesday. (JOHN WOODS/GLOBE AND MAIL)

Tina Duck, the mother of Tina Fontaine, visits memorial to her daughter beside the Red River in Winnipeg on Tuesday. (JOHN WOODS/GLOBE AND MAIL)

The Globe and Mail | Published, Dec. 16, 2015

Standing outside the Winnipeg courthouse, Tina Fontaine’s mother looked over at the nearby remand centre where the man accused of killing her daughter is in custody.

In a rare interview with The Globe and Mail on Tuesday, a tearful Tina Duck recalled the moment she learned it was her child’s body that police had found in the city’s Red River in August of last year.

“I wanted to see my daughter,” she said. “I wanted to know if it was her or not. All they said was for us to just remember the way she looked, and then they described the tattoo on her back.”

Tina’s tattoo, which was dedicated to her father, who was beaten to death in 2011, was the identifying factor, given the state of the indigenous teen’s remains.

Provincial court documents say police believe 53-year-old Raymond Cormier killed Tina around Aug. 10, 2014 – one week before search divers who were looking for the remains of someone else happened upon her corpse, wrapped in plastic. Mr. Cormier has been charged with second-degree murder.

Proceedings related to his case were put over Tuesday and pushed forward to Jan. 8. Mr. Cormier’s lawyer, Pamela Smith, has told The Globe her client will contest the charges. She said she expects the Crown will provide her with a hard-drive of the evidence against Mr. Cormier by the end of the week.

In announcing the arrest last Friday, Deputy Police Chief Danny Smyth said Mr. Cormier, who has more than 80 convictions dating back to 1978, was taken into custody on Dec. 9 in the Vancouver area. Constable Jason Michalyshen, a police spokesman, confirmed in an e-mail on Tuesday that the arrest took place in Whistler, B.C.

Ms. Duck said she has never seen the man accused of killing her daughter, whose death galvanized the movement to end violence against indigenous women and provoked changes to the province’s child-welfare system. Red dresses, a symbol of Canada’s missing and murdered aboriginal women, hang at the snow-covered dock where Tina’s body was found.

Tina and her younger sister, Sarah, were mostly raised in rural Manitoba by their great aunt and uncle, Thelma and Joseph Favel, after the girls’ father, Eugene Fontaine, was diagnosed with cancer. The Favels placed Tina in Child and Family Services care in July, 2014, hoping she would get support services to help her cope with her father’s beating death.

Ms. Duck, who met Mr. Fontaine at a Winnipeg house party when she was 12 years old, fell into alcoholism years ago and left her girls with their father when they were toddlers.

She reconnected with Tina in her teenaged years, spending time with her in Winnipeg in July of last year. She said her daughter mostly stayed in the city’s West End, and does not know anything about the east-end residence police say Tina and Mr. Cormier frequented.

The Sagkeeng First Nation teen was last seen alive on Aug. 8, 2014. On that date, she was in contact with paramedics, a CFS contract worker and police, who did not take her into their care even though she was listed as a missing person. Tina, who had been assigned an emergency foster-care placement at a downtown Winnipeg hotel, was reported missing again on Aug. 9, 2014. Constable Michalyshen said police believe she was killed that day or the next.

Ms. Duck said that while she did not raise Tina, she misses her every day and her heart is broken that her daughter became one of Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women.

“She would be 17 in January,” she said. “It’s not right. A kid isn’t supposed to go before her mom.”


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