Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Two charged for hiding victim's body

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Winnipeg police have charged two men with helping dispose of a slaying victim’s body more than seven years ago.

Steven Pelletier, 29, vanished without a trace in October 2006, leaving a trail of mystery behind for concerned family members and friends.

Last month, police arrested Darrell Lavallee and charged him with second-degree murder for the "cold case" attack. Sources told the Free Press Lavallee is a senior leader of the Indian Posse street gang in Winnipeg.

Police said at the time they believe Pelletier was "lured" into a home in the 500 block of Magnus Avenue, beaten and then shot. Once dead, Pelletier was removed from the home and "dumped outside city limits."

On Tuesday, police announced two more arrests.

Tomas Bell Francey, 36, and Ronald Allan Sobotkiewicz, 50, are now charged with accessory after the fact to murder. Police allege they assisted Lavallee in disposing of the body.

No other information has been released, including whether police are actively searching for Pelletier’s remains. However, more arrests are expected as police say other gang "associates" were also involved.

Pelletier's family reported him missing to police in November 2006, and a public release was issued shortly after. Police said the investigation shifted from the missing persons unit to the homicide unit in about 2010.

Police wouldn't reveal specifically what led to them to the major breakthrough and arrest in this case. Sources told the Free Press gang-related crimes typically crack when someone on the street decides to co-operate with investigators -- often for a price and protection -- and becomes a key informant and witness.

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