Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Some details emerge in girl's mysterious death

Charges mulled amid questions about tragedy

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IT is been more than a month since an eight-year-old Manitoba girl died under mysterious circumstances on a remote, troubled First Nation.

Now the Free Press has uncovered new details as justice officials continue to weigh whether the case was a tragic accident or something more sinister.

Skye Bighetty has been identified as the victim. Her aunt, Sue Caribou, says the little girl suffered a broken neck inside her home in Pukatawagan. Bighetty's 23-year-old brother, Kyle, has been identified by Caribou as being a suspect. But no charges have been laid at this time.

Kyle was immediately taken to the psychiatric unit at The Pas following his sister's death in late June and was recently transferred to Selkirk Mental Health Centre.

Caribou said her nephew escaped last week and was on the loose for several days until he was located and returned to the facility.

"We were terrified he would hurt himself somehow," Caribou told the Free Press Tuesday.

The deadly incident began when Skye's mother, Linda Colomb -- Caribou's sister-in-law -- asked the little girl to go downstairs to retrieve a mosquito coil. "When she didn't hear any noise, she went downstairs a few minutes later. There Kyle was, holding his sister. He was in a daze, out of it," said Caribou.

Attempts to revive Skye failed, so family members rushed her to a nearby nursing station where she was pronounced dead.

"There are lots of stories about what happened," said Caribou.

Caribou said the investigation has been complicated by her nephew's mental state. "If you don't snap him out of it, he just stands there, blankly," she said.

The Bighetty family lived for years in Regina before moving to northern Manitoba in 2007. Kyle is the oldest of six children. Skye was the youngest.

RCMP would only confirm this week their investigation is ongoing. No other details have been released. Members of the Winnipeg-based serious crime unit, Thompson-based major crime unit and the north district crime-reduction enforcement support team have been brought in to assist.

There was even more silence from Chief Arlen Dumas and council in Pukatawagan, who repeatedly told the Free Press they would provide a statement but ultimately refused to return phone calls.

Pukatawagan is more than 800 kilometres north of Winnipeg and is one of the most troubled reserves in Canada. About 2,000 people live in the community, which can only be accessed by air or train.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 7, 2013 A4

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