Police have officially begun searching a Winnipeg landfill for missing remains of a young woman found dead last month.
Soon after partial remains of Rebecca Contois were discovered in mid-May in North Kildonan, police say they secured an area of the Brady Road Landfill, just south of Winnipeg’s Perimeter Highway.
Police at the time described the landfill as a potential scene. Officers faced “extensive preparation work and poor recent weather conditions” that delayed the search until Thursday, police said in a news release.
Some remains of Contois, 24, were discovered at a North Kildonan apartment building May 16. Two days later police arrested Jeremy Anthony Micheal Skibicki, 35, who was then charged with first-degree murder.
Investigators did not say at the time where they believe Contois, a band member of Crane River First Nation, was killed, though they described the crime scene as “horrifically grisly.”
On Thursday, 10 police officers fitted with respirators, methane detection equipment and protective gear began searching the landfill for her missing remains.
In the lead-up, police say a sacred fire was lit and a ceremony was held in honour of Contois, her loved ones and searchers. A family support and resource advocate was present, as were Ka Ni Kanichihk’s Medicine Bear Counselling Program representatives. Supports from Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak’s missing, murdered and Indigenous women and girls liaison unit were also on hand, police said.
“The Winnipeg Police Service will continue to provide timely updates to her family about the investigation and search through a trauma-informed approach,” reads the Thursday police news release.
Contois is one of three First Nations women killed in Winnipeg in a two-week span last month.
Doris Trout, 25, was found dead in an apartment lobby on Kennedy Avenue in downtown Winnipeg on May 19, days after Contois was found dead. Tessa Perry, a mother of four, was found critically injured at a home in The Maples on May 28 and later died.
Vigils have been held in recent weeks to honour the women and call for action in the ongoing MMIWG crisis.
WATCH | Community remembers Rebecca Contois:
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