Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

God's Lake First Nation grieves after remains found

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God's Lake First Nation residents gathered to pray today on a trail in the bush, the scene of a grisly discovery of human remains Sunday.

RCMP have confirmed a death occurred in the fly-in Cree First Nation, 550 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

But Mounties were not giving any details about the deceased person, neither gender nor age. RCMP in Winnipeg confirmed remains were to be flown south for an autopsy after the prayer service.

"The post mortem should be completed soon," said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Miles Hiebert said. "We can’t even have a positive ID until the post-mortem is completed."

It’s not unusual for investigators to allow family and friends time  to hold a short service at the scene of a death before the remains are removed for autopsy, particularly in northern, rural and remote areas where the remains must be transported over great distances away from grieving family and friends.

"I can confirm that prior to the deceased being removed, that out of respect some community members were afforded an opportunity to hold prayers at the site," Hiebert said.

Meanwhile, community members say a well-liked teen girl has been missing since Friday night. She wasn’t found when the First Nation asked households to account for all family members on Sunday.

This latest death is the sixth in the past week in rural Manitoba that is under investigation by the RCMP. Mounties have confirmed the previous five as homicides but they are not ready to rule on the one in Gods Lake.

Community leaders could not be reached for comment today. But residents said the remains were discovered by a teenage boy early Sunday morning on a snowmobile trail. By most accounts, the boy spotted a pack of dogs surrounding something and, when he scared them off, saw there were remains on the snow-covered ground.

Calls to the band office were not answered and residents said the school and government offices were closed Monday and expected to reopen Tuesday.

There are approximately 1,500 people living on the First Nation, a federal Aboriginal Affairs website says.

History

Updated on Monday, January 7, 2013 at 10:05 AM CST: New headline

3:32 PM: Adds writethrough

January 8, 2013 at 10:50 AM: Clarifies the death happened at God's Lake First Nation.

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