Arrest in Balaquit case brings more unanswered questions: son

Almost three years after Eduardo Balaquit went missing, and almost a week after Winnipeg police charged a man with his homicide, there's only one thing his son would like to say to the suspect.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/03/2021 (794 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Almost three years after Eduardo Balaquit went missing, and almost a week after Winnipeg police charged a man with his homicide, there’s only one thing his son would like to say to the suspect.

“Help us out,” said Edward Balaquit. “Tell me where he is. We just want my dad back.”

Edward said the family, which participated in ultimately fruitless searches in the Winnipeg and Arborg areas for his 59-year-old father, thought an arrest would bring some type of closure, but it hasn’t.

Balaquit’s body hasn’t been found.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Edward Balaquit poses for a portrait on the six-month anniversary of his father's disappearance in Winnipeg on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018.

“It was releasing to know they found the person, but at the same time, my family didn’t find out where my dad is,” Edward said Monday.

“We’ve found out until we find my dad, it is hard to find closure.”

Eduardo Balaquit, a Filipino immigrant, went to work the evening of June 4, 2018, and didn’t return home. The next day, police found Balaquit’s vehicle abandoned in a parking lot near the Keewatin Street building where he was to be doing regular janitorial work.

The vehicle’s window was smashed, but personal belongings, including a cellphone, were still inside.

Kyle Alexander James Pietz, 35, who had worked at Westcon Equipment & Rentals Ltd. at 380 Keewatin St. but who was no longer an employee when Balaquit disappeared, was charged last week with manslaughter.

Eduardo Balaquit

Pietz, who lived in Winnipeg when Balaquit disappeared had since moved to Saskatoon. He was arrested in the Saskatchewan city by Winnipeg and Saskatoon police officers.

When the arrest was announced, Winnipeg Police Service Det.-Sgt. Wade McDonald said: “Eduardo was a hardworking man. He worked several jobs in the city. He worked at this business for a number of years. He had just gone to work and never returned home.”

Police have not disclosed a motive in the slaying.

For the family, Edward said, hearing the suspect used to work at the place his father was employed as a cleaner didn’t make it any easier.

“We have more questions than anything,” he said Monday. “We don’t know this person.

“My dad was the nighttime janitor there. He was contracted to clean there. This is more confusing than anything,” Edward said.

“How often do you speak to your night janitor?”

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Volunteers search for Eduardo Balaquit in a field just outside the perimeter highway June 10, 2018.

Edward said police investigators gave the family a heads-up a suspect had been arrested, but few other details. He said police didn’t say whether they had questioned the suspect about the potential location of his dad’s body.

“They want to protect the integrity of the case,” he said. “They can’t talk about it. I can only assume they asked.”

Edward said family members would even be willing to go out and search again, if they only knew where to go.

“Unfortunately, we don’t know where to look,” he said.

“Our main goal is to find my dad. It is like Day 1 all over again — it is still a waiting game for us. But I’m sure someone will find him someday.”

— with files from Dean Pritchard

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

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