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Missing person investigation turns into homicide case

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The Winnipeg Police Service has determined that missing person Robert "Bobby" Thomson is a victim of homicide and have arrested a 21-year-old man in connection with the case.

Thomson first went missing July 21, 2012. An investigation by police revealed 21-year-old Thomson was with a male and female in Osborne Village. The three purchased liquor at the MLCC on River Avenue, then gathered near the bank of the Assiniboine River to socialize.

According to a release issued by police, Thomson and the other man were allegedly in a "serious physical altercation," which ended with Thomson being put into the river. The male suspect fled the area.

The female suspect, who police say is a witness in the case, was located and identified but is not facing any charges at this time, Cst. Jason Michalyshen said during a press conference on Jan. 14.

Michalyshen said police believe Thomson had recently met the male and female before the incident.

"Family members, when they were trying to describe Robert on a personal level, the kind of individual that he was, I think he was an individual, they used the term ‘free-spirit.’ He was a friendly individual and he frequented the Osborne Village area," Michalyshen said. "Certainly not uncommon for him, given what we know about Robert, to meet people. To meet new people, and unfortunately this meeting went from bad to worse."

Police are not releasing information brought forward to investigators as to what the fight was about.

Michalyshen said WPS has not located Thomson’s body at this time.

 "Efforts and recovery efforts to locate Robert will continue. That component of the investigation is definitely ongoing," Michalyshen said. "For us to specifically say at this time his cause of death, we certainly would not be able to do so at this time.

"We’re aware, and it’s alleged, that the male and Robert became involved in a very violent and very serious altercation, and as a result of that altercation, it is believed that Robert was placed in the river  and has not been seen since that time."

On Jan. 13, police arrested 21-year-old Tanner James Prevost while he was in custody on an unrelated matter. Prevost remains in custody and faces a charge of second degree murder due to his alleged involvement.

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