Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Body in river brings surprise

Not man who fell into Red; police confirm it's homicide

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A Winnipeg water rescue crew brings a body in a bag to shore.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

A Winnipeg water rescue crew brings a body in a bag to shore. Photo Store

Police and fire crews pulled a body from the Red River at the Alexander docks Sunday afternoon -- it just wasn't the body they had been searching for since Friday.

Police were saying little Sunday other than to confirm it is a homicide.

The grisly discovery is also unrelated to an intensive search in the same area for a man who fell into the river three days ago.

Around 8 p.m. Sunday, police using a boat pulled what appeared to be a body from the Red River near Kildonan Park. No other details were available at press time.

Witnesses told accounts Sunday of a body found tightly bound in a bag or some kind of plastic, floating about 30 metres north of the docks near the shore.

After the discovery, police divers were still seen continuing to search the river at a nearby train bridge for signs of the man who disappeared Friday.

'That's somebody's loved one. To witness something like that, it's really sad to see a human body dumped like that'

"It is an apparent body but we don't know the identity," Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service platoon chief Ted Kuryluk said shortly after the emergency crews arrived.

Police cruisers and several emergency vehicles pulled up to the docks Sunday afternoon after a 911 call. They waited there for about an hour until the medical examiner arrived to remove the body.

Almost immediately after, police released a statement to say they were investigating the death as a homicide. There was no word on when an autopsy would be performed or when the results might be made public.

Witnesses described the scene as shocking and disturbing.

Three women and a little girl were at the docks around 1:30 p.m. when they saw a man and a boy walking a pair of dogs north of them along the river bank. The pair stopped suddenly and acted distressed, the women said.

They watched as the pair called the dogs to them and the man made a call on a cell.

In response, a fire truck and police cruisers arrived almost immediately.

As the women watched from metres away, authorities in a boat joined police officers at the docks. Divers retrieved a tightly bound bundle that appeared to hold a body, the witnesses said. It had floated to the surface about 30 metres north of the Alexander docks.

"It was wrapped in a bag or grey plastic or a grey blanket... This body here has got nothing to do with that (other) one. You can clearly tell; it's wrapped up in a bag," said one of the women who gave her name as Kim.

The man and the boy who called in the discovery spoke to police and then very briefly to media as they drove away from the docks.

"We were just walking along and we saw this body sticking out of the water," said the man.

He looked composed but shaken, a man in his late 30s at the wheel of the pickup, holding two small dogs in his lap. His 12-year-old son sat quietly in the passenger seat beside him.

He and his son, 12, had taken their dogs for a walk when they stumbled on the grisly find. The father said they drove here from Calgary and are headed back home in a few days.

The women said the tightly wrapped bundle held what appeared to be a body in a fetal position. Two of the women said they saw a hand, which appeared petite and possibly feminine, poking out from the bundle.

"The circumstances, where they found the body, you know there has to be more to the story. That's somebody's loved one," said one of the women, who gave her name as Loren. "To witness something like that, it's really sad to see a human body dumped like that."

All weekend, the Alexander docks had been the launching site for an entirely different reason.

Police had been engaged in an intensive sweep of the Red River, diving in an effort to recover the body of a man who was last seen Friday in the river, near the Provencher Street bridge.

A man was seen struggling in the current and was carried some distance before he submerged near the train bridge within sight of the docks.

Sunday, police divers and the harbour master had been focusing their search efforts at the bridge, until the discovery was made north of there.

On Friday, a river boat captain with the Splash Dash water taxi suffered a heart attack trying to rescue the man who'd fallen in the river. The riverboat captain had surgery over the weekend and is expected to recover.

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 18, 2014 B1

History

Updated on Monday, August 18, 2014 at 6:34 AM CDT: Replaces photo

7:10 AM: Corrects typo

9:41 PM: Updated.

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