Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Melted snow reveals suspicious death

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The spring snowmelt has revealed a troubling mystery in Manitoba -- the discovery of human remains and a suspicious death.

Travis Bilay, 23, was reported missing from his home in Dauphin by family members on Jan. 4. They told police Bilay hadn't been heard from since New Year's Day.

The investigation took an unexpected twist Tuesday when a rural property owner southwest of Dauphin found a body.

RCMP announced Friday afternoon an autopsy has confirmed the remains are those of Bilay and foul play is suspected. No cause of death was released.

Major crime investigators are now seeking the public's help in solving the case. Anyone with information is urged to call 204-622-5020 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Bilay was in the news last October when RCMP made 11 arrests as part of a major project dubbed Damper, targeting drug dealing in the western part of the province. Bilay was charged with trafficking marijuana and his case was before the courts at the time of his disappearance.

His 10 co-accused are facing a total of 35 charges, including cocaine trafficking and weapons possession. Police seized close to $10,000 worth of drugs along with a sawed-off shotgun during that investigation.

RCMP Cpl. Miles Hiebert wouldn't say Friday whether police believe Bilay's alleged criminal involvement played a role in his death.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 11, 2013 A19

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