Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ethelbert deaths homicides: RCMP

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FEAR is rising in the small western Manitoba community of Ethelbert after police said Thursday two deceased people found there earlier this week had been murdered.

"I always lock my door at night but now I lock my door during the day, too," said Nadia Pelechaty, 81.

Pelechaty lives down the road from where the bodies of Elsie Steppa, 81, and a 50-year-old man were found earlier this week.

Steppa's body was discovered Saturday in the home she shared with her nephew, Harry Jones, whose whereabouts are unknown.

The body of a man was found Monday at the rear of the property. RCMP would not release his identity but local residents said they suspected it was Jones and the mystery was a murder-suicide.

However, the RCMP statement Thursday afternoon of a double homicide has increased concern in this community of 320 people, 60 km north of Dauphin.

"This is a small town, I wonder who would have done that," Pelechaty said. "It might be some outsiders."

RCMP would not confirm the identities of either victims but local residents said Steppa was the first victim found Saturday.

Police were alerted by town mayor Mitch Michaluk, who went to the property after prompting by neighbours and found the door unlocked, but no one answered his calls.

The RCMP said anyone with information is asked to contact the Dauphin detachment at 204-622-5050 or Manitoba Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 25, 2013 A4

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