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Family happy for chance to 'lay her to rest'

THE family of Tanya Jane Nepinak is relieved Winnipeg police will search the Brady Road Landfill for her remains.

Speaking Wednesday at a press conference, Nepinak's former partner and the father of her two children, Vernon Mann, said he is "happy and relieved that they're finally going to go ahead with the search.

Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press
Vernon Mann, Tanya Nepinak's former partner, and Gail Nepinak, Tanya's sister, after news Winnipeg police will search landfill for Nepinak's body.

Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press Vernon Mann, Tanya Nepinak's former partner, and Gail Nepinak, Tanya's sister, after news Winnipeg police will search landfill for Nepinak's body.

"It's been a while already," he said.

Mann said that after meetings with the Winnipeg Police Service, he, along with other family members, went away with the feeling they were "going to say no."

"We always had our doubts that they were going to do it," said Mann. "I want the search done right away so we can find her remains and finally lay her to rest."

Mann also talked about how the experience has affected him and the children he has with Nepinak.

"Between anger and hurt, sadness and confusion, it's been very difficult trying to speak to my kids about it. They read a lot of the media; they're old enough to see everything and read everything. I've tried to be upfront as much as I can."

Finding Nepinak's body would mean bringing her "home," said Mann.

"She was a very loving and caring person, with a good heart. She was a good mother. We need to bring her home; she doesn't deserve to be there," he said.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs also applauded the WPS decision, adding they would also provide volunteers for the search if requested.

"We are pleased that the family of Tanya Nepinak's hopes of finding her body and justice were not in vain," AMC Grand Chief Derek Nepinak said in a prepared statement. "By searching the landfill, the Winnipeg police are doing the right thing and we will do our best to support the Nepinak family and the process."

Although WPS Chief Keith McCaskill said Wednesday no decision has been taken yet on how the search will be conducted, Nepinak said the WPS has asked his organization to provide volunteers to carry out what is expected to be a time-consuming and exhaustive search.

"We as a community have an opportunity to help find Tanya and bring her home," Nepinak said. "She does not belong where she is; she needs to be found and given a proper burial with the honour and love she deserves."

 

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 9, 2012 A3

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