Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Police silence creates suspicion

Family grows angry as case remains open

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It's one of the core principles of the criminal justice system: Not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done.

Which is why the mysterious case of Myrna Letandre could be exhibit A for many who feel missing and murdered aboriginal women aren't given the attention they deserve.

Because while there may be plenty of investigative work being done on the Letandre case behind the scenes, you certainly wouldn't know it based on the cone of silence from police.

Letandre vanished in 2006. Her name was added to the list of 28 local cases being investigated by the Project Devote police task force, beginning in 2009. The investigation took a dramatic twist in May 2013 when police were led to a Point Douglas rooming house and dug up human remains they confirmed were Letandre's.

A year has passed and still no arrest has been made. There have been no updates by police -- either to the media or the victim's family.

"It's really hard and very frustrating. There really is no justice for missing and murdered women," Susan Caribou, a relative of Letandre's, recently told the Free Press. "There is no closure for our family."

A spokeswoman for the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs previously said they have been given no updates about the case.

So what's the delay? Police, of course, won't say. RCMP have only confirmed the investigation is ongoing but have a strict policy about not discussing active cases.

Other developments have added to the intrigue.

Last month, a man believed to be a key figure in Letandre's case pleaded guilty to killing and dismembering his wife in British Columbia. Traigo Andretti, a former Winnipegger, was given a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Police discovered human remains on a remote island near Alert Bay, off the east coast of Vancouver Island, last spring. They were confirmed as being Jennifer McPherson, who was reported missing from Hanson Island, B.C., on May 1, 2013.

The couple had been living on Hanson Island as caretakers of a fishing resort.

Andretti, 38, and McPherson, 41, once lived at the same Lorne Avenue rooming house where Letandre's remains were found. Following Andretti's arrest for killing McPherson, investigators in B.C. received information they passed on to Manitoba authorities. That triggered the search of the home.

RCMP have not publicly called Andretti a suspect or detailed whether they have interviewed him further about Letandre's case. And so the family waits.

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.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 17, 2014 A4

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