WARNING: This story contains distressing details.
The grandmother of Marcedes Myran — one of the four women police allege were killed by the same man — says she wants police to search a Winnipeg landfill for her granddaughter’s remains.
“We have no idea how to have a funeral when she’s not there,” Donna Bartlett told CBC on Saturday.
“We need her body. We need to have complete closure.”
Police said on Thursday they believe Myran, who was from Long Plain First Nation but living in Winnipeg, was killed by Jeremy Skibicki.
He was charged last May with first-degree murder in the death of another First Nations woman living in Winnipeg, 24-year-old Rebecca Contois.
On Thursday, police said he’d also been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Myran, 39-year-old Morgan Harris, who was also from Long Plain, and another woman who has yet to be identified.
Police have previously said they believe the three identified victims, including Myran, were all killed in May.
Bartlett says her granddaughter made contact with family for the last time on March 15. The 26-year-old mother started living on the streets after her children were put into foster care, said Bartlett.
“That’s who I blame for her being on the street.… That broke her,” she said.
The family hoped that Myran would reappear, she said, but contacted police and put out posters reporting her as missing on Sept. 27.
“I just wanted her to be alive,” said Bartlett. “That’s all I wanted — to know that she was still alive — and then the worst thing happened.”
The family had never heard of the man now accused of killing Myran until police visited them on Thursday to break the news, said Bartlett.
“I had hope until Thursday,” she said. “Thursday shattered me — shattered the family.”
So far, only the remains of Contois have been found, including partial remains that were found at Winnipeg’s Brady Road landfill after a police search in June.
Bartlett says having her granddaughter’s remains would provide some closure for the family.
“It would still hurt, but at least we know — we see her,” she said. “Right now, we don’t.”
Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth said this week he believes the remains of the three additional victims are at the Brady Road landfill, but too much time has passed for a search to be feasible.
At the news conference Thursday where police announced the latest charges against Skibicki, Smyth said he doesn’t “foresee an additional search of the landfill” for the other remains.
The daughter of Morgan Harris said this week that she was frustrated by that news.
“To not search it is not going to do anything. I think that’s disgusting,” Cambria Harris said at a Thursday night vigil for her mother.
Bartlett says she feels for the families of the other victims.
“They’re probably going through the same thing we are. It is a hard thing to go through.”
‘I’ll never forget her’
While a search may be expensive, Bartlett says she just wants her granddaughter back.
“I’m sure there’s ways they can figure out how to do it,” she said.
But Smyth said Friday that Contois’s case was different. Her partial remains were first discovered in a garbage bin in a Winnipeg back alley in May.
Police were then able to isolate a specific area of the landfill to search, Smyth said.
“We don’t have that luxury with these other victims.”
She said she’ll miss her granddaughter’s jokes and her big smile the most.
“”I’ll miss that forever,” she said.
“It’s so hard to lose somebody like that. She was a nice girl.”
Support is available for anyone affected by details of this case. If you require support, you can contact Ka Ni Kanichihk’s Medicine Bear Counselling, Support and Elder Services at 204-594-6500, ext. 102 or 104, (within Winnipeg) or 1-888-953-5264 (outside Winnipeg).