Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 07/13/2012 11:27 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 07/13/2012 4:07 PM | Updates
A joint police task force has narrowed down the list of murdered or missing Manitobans it is investigating to 28 people – including one man.
Project Devote, the RCMP and Winnipeg Police Service task force, issued an update on the probe that began in May, 2011.
The task force reviewed 84 investigations of missing and murdered women and 112 men, and narrowed down the investigation to 27 women and one man who were linked by all being at high risk of becoming victims of violent crime. Police contacted their families before announcing today the 20 slain and eight missing Manitobans whom Project Devote will focus on.
Each were "at-risk" people – they may have had substance or alcohol abuse issues, were transient, had mental health issues or were sex trade workers, said Project Devote spokesman Cpl. Miles Hiebert. The list includes 27 women ranging in age from 15 to 43. The oldest subject of Project Devote is a man, 46-year-old William Weinbender.
The head of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says the task force needs to focus more on aboriginal women.
"Project Devote needs to engage First Nations and as such we are looking for seats at the Executive Steering Committee of Project Devote, given at least 18 of the 28 women are of First Nation and Aboriginal descent," Grand Chief Derek Nepinak said in a press release.
The police probe is limited in scope and "does not directly address the epidemic of missing and Murdered Indigenous Women," it said.
"Given First Nations and Aboriginal people are over-represented in the investigations, linkages between First Nations and Project Devote need to be created so that there is identification of issues in order to create a better system, with accountable outcomes back to families and communities," Nepinak said in the release.
The spokesman for Project Devote said the investigation is not focusing on sex and race.
"Gender and ethnicity are not the issues here," said Hiebert with Project Devote, which maintains the link the victims shared was their high risk to become violent crime victims.
The police say the task force dedicated to solving the crimes has tripled with the addition of 15 people, and is made up of 18 police officers – 10 Winnipeg police and eight RCMP, two civilian RCMP analysts three RCMP data personnel and one RCMP administrative support person. But, to date, there have been no arrests.
After analyzing thousands pieces of evidence and going over 140 DNA samples, at this point in the investigation there is nothing to indicate a serial killer is responsible, said Hiebert.
"At this point, we have no physical evidence to link more than one person to these crimes."
Anyone with information is asked to contact Project Devote tip line at 1-888-673-3316.
Red markers indicate locations of slain women, while blue markers indicate the last locations of missing women. Click on any marker for more details on the case. Use the controls at top left to zoom in and out on the map, and click and drag on the map to move around.
Updated on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 12:30 PM CDT: updates with complete writethru
12:45 PM: New headline
1:08 PM: adds slideshow
4:07 PM: Adds interactive map.
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Officer under investigation for sexual harassment sues police force, city
HSC sets aside 10 isolation rooms to deal with Ebola
Judy W-L stays unperturbed while Bowman is buoyed after new poll shows him ahead
Paul Maurice is frustrated after Jets' four-game losing streak
Kurds rally in support of besieged countrymen in Syria
Five-year old boy dies after being struck by vehicle at St. Theresa Point First Nation
Murder trial begins for man accused of dismembering co-worker
A search for the visionary mayor
Man in Forces incident had 'become radicalized':PMO
Winnipeggers resign themselves to new community mailboxes
Judge's inquiry panel to begin Nov. 24
Bombers will hand offence controls back over to Willy for matchup with B.C. Lions
Record iPhone sales drive Apple's 3Q beat
Voynov suspended on domestic violence suspicion
Advance poll turnout continues to increase, sets record this year
No rules stop school trustee incumbents from using official email for campaigns
Six-week-old infant dies at Red Sucker Lake First Nation
Architectural historian Frank Albo endorses Sanders for mayor
PTE posts 11th consecutive surplus
Winnipeg group trying to sponsor three Syrian refugee families to come to Canada
From Blink to the Sheriff, these five running backs earned their place in Bomber history
Two-vehicle crash on Trans-Canada Highway near Oak Lake covers lane with debris
Crummey talks Sweetland at News Café
Missing teen last seen in Elmwood
Nigerians await news on missing girls
Police: Indiana suspect hints at more killings
No medics without evacuation plan: Ambrose
Case on aboriginal kids in care nearing end
Police arrest man in alleged sexual assault on transit bus
Bowman, Judy W-L neck and neck, poll shows
Manitoba Hydro invites questions online on its bid to control Lake Winnipeg levels
Drug treatment for female sexuality not about equality
Class action lawsuit filed against CHL
School fire forces relocation of polling station in Elmwood-East Kildonan
Police looking for man suspected of sexual assault at Fort and Graham bus shelter
Mayes, Bihun, Bestland to play at Blues Manitoba bash
Winnipeg inches up top entrepreneurial list
Conference Board forecast says Winnipeg economy slowed this year but will rebound
Missing seven-year-old girl safely located
Six facing charges after police find guns, drugs at house