Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Family upset over unresolved case

Seven months since woman's remains found

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Family members of a Winnipeg woman found buried in the foundation of a home last spring are growing frustrated at the cone of silence over the mysterious case.

Myrna Letandre vanished without a trace in 2006. Her name was added to the list of 28 missing and murdered Manitoba women being investigated by a police task force beginning in 2009.

The cold case took a dramatic twist last spring when police were led to a Point Douglas rooming house and dug up human remains they quickly confirmed were those of Letandre.

Seven months have passed and no arrests have been made.

'It's really hard and very frustrating. There really is no justice for missing and murdered women'

-- Susan Caribou, relative of Myrna Letandre

"It's really hard and very frustrating. There really is no justice for missing and murdered women," said Susan Caribou, a relative of Letandre's. "It's not fair. There is no closure for our family."

Sidney Letandre, a cousin to the victim, said the only update given to his family by the RCMP is the investigation remains ongoing. All hope for a quick arrest has now vanished.

"Nothing will bring her back. But I guess no matter what happens with the investigation and the courts, I won't be happy," said Letandre.

RCMP did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday but have a strict policy about not discussing active investigations. Their last public release on the case came during a news conference in early May to confirm the shocking breakthrough.

A spokeswoman for the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said Tuesday they have been given no updates about the case but are monitoring the situation closely.

Caribou told the Free Press there will be more public rallies if something doesn't break soon. She noted the recent outrage when justice officials struck a plea bargain with Shawn Lamb. He pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter against vulnerable young women, while three counts of first-degree murder were stayed.

RCMP and Winnipeg police teamed up to form Project Devote in 2009 and have identified 20 homicides and eight missing-persons cases linked by one factor -- the individuals all had a high risk of becoming victims of violent crime. Letandre was one of those eight missing persons.

Letandre was 37 when she was reported missing in the fall of 2006. RCMP confirmed in May investigators were led to the Lorne Avenue residence by "very valuable" information they received earlier in the week from a separate criminal investigation in British Columbia.

Police wouldn't provide further details but sources have told the Free Press Letandre's case is linked to a B.C. homicide.

Police discovered scattered human remains on a remote island near Alert Bay, off the east coast of Vancouver Island. They were confirmed as belonging to Jennifer McPherson, a former Winnipegger who was reported missing from Hanson Island, B.C., on April 29.

Police charged McPherson's husband, Traigo Ehkid Andretti, with second-degree murder. He remains in custody and is allegedly the link between the B.C. and Manitoba cases.

Sources told the Free Press Andretti, 37, and McPherson, 41, previously lived at the Lorne Avenue home before moving west five years ago. Family members of McPherson say she met Andretti through the Plenty of Fish dating website shortly before leaving Manitoba.

The Free Press has learned Andretti had contact with Letandre while they were living in Winnipeg. One source described it as an informal relationship. RCMP previously stated they believe Letandre may have briefly lived at the same Lorne Avenue home, although they wouldn't disclose whether it was with Andretti.

Andretti has a form of autism and has been a cause of concern for police and justice officials after he failed to take prescribed medication. He has a criminal history in Manitoba and B.C., including a violent attack against McPherson in 2008 that netted him probation.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 5, 2013 A8

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