News about the grisly slaying spread quickly Friday through the quiet Waverley Heights neighbourhood.
Several neighbours who gathered across the street from 38 Forest Lake Dr. Friday discussed the disturbing news that a woman was tortured and her body was put into a barrel last summer.
Police made repeated visits to the house last summer and early fall, said the neighbours, none of whom would give their names.
One summer afternoon, an elderly couple watched as police officers, with their guns drawn, descended on the two-storey home for what appeared to be a standoff.
They never learned what had happened.
“I just knew something wasn’t right,” said one man.
The next time police arrived, they wore white protective gear.
“The police were here about a week, with those hazardous waste suits, those white outfits. They took out barrels from the back (yard),” said another neighbour.
Several neighbours reported the house had been rented after the property had been on the market for months without being sold.
Others said the house had been rented out sometime in the months before the standoff, with as many as six or eight people living there off and on.
The number of occupants was odd, but stranger still, was the presence of a U-Haul with Alberta licence plates that pulled up one day and didn’t leave.
“The U-Haul was parked there for the longest time this summer,” one neighbour said. “And it was filled with junky furniture, you know, like they had one of those tables, the kind with booth (benches) attached to it.”
As the summer wore on, things settled down, people moved out and it appeared only a few people remained at the address.
“All I ever saw was two women and that was one time, when I saw them carrying groceries in,” one neighbour said.
The neighbourhood is filled with single-family homes. Forest Lake Drive is just off Markham Road, off Pembina Highway. Victoria Hospital and the University of Manitoba’s Fort Garry Campus are both nearby.
Reports of the slaying shocked some residents.
“I heard about it (on the radio), and I was hoping it wasn’t our street,” one man said.
“You wish it didn’t happen, but it did,” another neighbour said.
Neighbours said the tenants were private.
“It’s not like they were noisy. Until the cops showed up, you’d have thought they were good neighbours,” said one man. “Now I sound like those people on TV, the ones you see after something happens who say, ‘oh, they were so quiet,’” he said.
— Alexandra Paul