An already frigid February morning was rendered even more chilling for residents of a Tuxedo housing complex after the discovery of a body lying in the snow next to a children's play structure.
Shortly before 10 a.m. on Saturday, when the temperature hovered around -25 C, a resident of a Manitoba Housing complex on Doncaster Street found the body of a woman in the complex's courtyard.
Police arrived soon afterward to place a tarp over the body, which was accompanied by a large white purse and several cans of Labatt Extra Dry.
After police taped off the courtyard as well as some of the units in the ethnically diverse complex, shaken residents of the complex tried to piece together what happened the previous evening.
Residents say at least two parties took place overnight in different parts of the complex, which sits between Doncaster and Edgeland streets, south of Tuxedo Avenue.
Erica LaPlante, 13, said she heard shouts from the courtyard at about 3 a.m., but assumed someone was horsing around outside. "I thought it was kids playing -- teenagers," she said.
Her mother, Deb LaPlante, said she and her neighbours are fairly certain of the identity of the deceased woman, fearing it is a neighbour in her 30s.
But the Winnipeg Police Service was not ready to confirm the woman's identity, said Const. Jason Michalyshen. It was also uncertain whether the deceased woman succumbed to exposure, foul play or a combination of factors.
An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death, Michalyshen said.
Though the deceased woman's body was removed early Saturday afternoon, residents remained reluctant to allow their kids to play outside, said Deb LaPlante.
"I'm terrified. This is going to affect a lot of people. A lot of families here have young children," said the mother of four. "This happened right next to the place where our children play."
LaPlante said a vigil for the deceased woman will be held today at 6 p.m. in the complex's courtyard.