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This article was published 30/11/2018 (496 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Thelma Krull's family hoped for a miracle, but it wasn't meant to be.
Now, slim hopes dashed and worst fears realized with the chance discovery of her remains by a Ste. Anne's hunter in October, Krull's family is trying to figure out how to move forward.
"We are communicating with each other and trying to process the reality," Krull’s older brother Bill Therriault said Friday in an email from his home in Penticton, B.C.
"Though we have known for some time that Thelma was gone, there was always some small hope for a miracle and that she would somehow appear."
Winnipeg police announced Thursday that DNA tests, performed on human remains found by a hunter on Oct. 27 about 50 kilometres southeast of the city in a wooded area, were of the 57-year-old Winnipeg grandmother who went missing July 11, 2015.
Krull had left her Harbourview South home at 7:23 a.m. for a walk intended to help her train for a hike she planned to take on the West Coast with her brother.
Police found her eyeglasses days later, but little else.
"Though we have known for some time that Thelma was gone, there was always some small hope for a miracle and that she would somehow appear." – Bill Therriault, Krull's older brother
Officers believed then, and continue to believe, that Krull was attacked in the area of the Valley Gardens Community Club, dragged to a nearby vehicle, building or residence and then slain.
Lead investigator Sgt. Wes Rommel said finding Krull's remains was "a critical piece" in the investigation and "is a major step forward."
"We are not done," Rommel vowed, asking anyone with information to call homicide detectives at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).
But as the grim news now sinks in for Krull’s family and friends, Therriault said the family will have to struggle to find ways to move forward and live life with some sense of normalcy.
"It is impossible to say where we go from here," he said. "This is something that you only see on TV and we have never had any violence in the history of our family.
"Personally, at this point, I feel bewildered — how could this happen to such a decent person, and why?"
Therriault praised the work that the Winnipeg Police Service has put into the case and the way investigators have dealt with his family since Krull vanished.
"The Winnipeg police have been exceptionally sensitive and professional throughout the process," he said.
"They communicated to us several weeks ago that the remains were probably Thelma, so we have had some time to process, but the more extended family — such as grandson, nieces, nephews, etc. — as well as close friends are only now coming to grips with the reality."
And while he praised the work of Winnipeg's media in reporting Krull's disappearance and the police updates that followed, he chastised Global News for posting a photo of his sister's remains in the woods, saying it left the family feeling violated.
"The publishing of a picture of our sister’s skull is a disgusting violation of decency," he said.
"I would ask the media person responsible for that decision how they might feel if that was their mother or sister?"
Winnipeg police took to Twitter Thursday afternoon, criticizing the decision to post the photo.
"This image was cruel and served no purpose and we asked them to remove it, however, Global has still not done so," the 1:22 p.m. tweet read.
Global responded in a tweet 40 minutes later saying they posted the photo — "relevant to the story" — after following "a strict set of journalistic principles and practices."
Therriault said Friday that he and the rest of his family now hope that Krull's lasting legacy is one of a beloved family member, mother and grandmother.
"She deserves to be honoured, not sensationalized by the publication of a picture of part of her skeletal remains," he said.
"She was happily married, a mother and grandmother... trying to get in shape to do a hike with me on the West Coast Trail.
"She was kind, helpful and fun. That is the way she is remembered by her community, family and friends."
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.