A timeline of the Jeremy Skibicki case

The trial for the man accused of killing four Indigenous women in Winnipeg is set to get underway on April 29.

Jeremy Skibicki is facing four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Rebecca Contois, Marcedes Myran, Morgan Harris and an unidentified woman who has been given the name Buffalo Woman or Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe.

The partial remains of Contois were found at the Brady Road Landfill, while it’s believed the remains of Myran and Harris could be in the Prairie Green Landfill. The location of Buffalo Woman’s remains has not been identified.

Skibicki has pleaded not guilty to all four counts and jurors have been selected for his trial.

Below, CTV News Winnipeg will go through the timeline of events that happened between May 2022 and the weeks leading up to the beginning of the trial.

May 2022

A Winnipeg police investigation started on May 16, 2022, after partial human remains were found in the 200 block of Edison Avenue in North Kildonan.

The remains were identified as 24-year-old Rebecca Contois. On May 18, 2022, police arrested 35-year-old Jeremy Skibicki and charged him with first-degree murder.

Officers at the scene were searching a nearby garbage bin and investigators couldn’t rule out the possibility of “additional victims.”

Rebecca Contois (CTV Winnipeg)

June 2022

Winnipeg police started searching the Brady Road Landfill for the partial remains of Contois on June 2, 2022. A section of the landfill had been secured and dumping in the area was stopped.

On June 14, 2022, police said human remains had been found at the landfill, and on June 21, 2022, police confirmed they were the remains of Contois.

December 2022

Investigators charged Skibicki with three more counts of first-degree murder on Dec. 1, 2022, in relation to the killing of three more Indigenous women between March and May 2022- all previous to Rebecca Contois.

Police told the public that an unidentified woman – who was later given the name Buffalo Woman or Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe by the Indigenous community– was killed around March 15, 2022. She was in her mid-20s.

The two other victims were 39-year-old Morgan Harris and 26-year-old Marcedes Myran.

Rebecca Contois (left) Morgan Beatrice Harris (centre) and Marcedes Myran (right), along with a fourth unidentified woman referred to as Buffalo Woman (Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe), have been identified as the four victims of alleged serial killer Jeremy Anthony Michael Skibicki.

Winnipeg police said Harris is believed to have been killed around May 1, 2022, and Myran was killed around May 4, 2022.

On Dec. 2, 2022, Indigenous advocates called on all levels of government and other institutions in power to step up and fulfil the Calls for Justice that were outlined in the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

On Dec. 4, 2022, hundreds of people gathered to honour the lives of the four women.

On Dec. 6, 2022, Winnipeg police announced it was believed the remains of Myran and Harris were in the Prairie Green Landfill just north of the city, but Chief Danny Smyth said the recovery of their bodies was likely not possible.

Calls to search the landfill begin

Harris’ daughter Cambria said she was “heartbroken” when she learned police wouldn’t search the landfill.

“They say they can’t search because it’s unfeasible. Is human life not feasible?” Cambria said at the time during a news conference.

Cambria Harris, daughter of Morgan Harris, speaks during a news conference calling on the federal government to take action to end violence against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people, in the Foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. Police identified Morgan Harris as one of four women killed by an alleged serial killer in Winnipeg, but her body has not yet been found. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

On Dec. 8, 2022, First Nations leaders called for Smyth to resign over the decision to not search the landfill.

The same day, the Manitoba government and City of Winnipeg announced operations at the Prairie Green Landfill would be put on pause while officials figured out next steps.

The following day, the police board announced it was looking at the option of bringing in outside help for a potential search. This came after calls intensified to search the landfill.

Brady Road Landfill blockade

A blockade was set up at the Brady Road Landfill entrance on Dec. 11, 2022, to amplify the voices of the families. Posts on social media showed debris scattered across the road with people standing behind.

On Dec. 13, 2022, Indigenous organizations started calling on the federal government to help with a landfill search, this, after Markus Chambers, the board chair of the Winnipeg Police Board, said the Indigenous community needed to advocate for the landfill search.

The next day, First Nations leaders formed a committee to do a feasibility study, to determine what it would take to search the landfill.

“We just want to move forward and be able to do the work and be able to bring our women home,” said Assembly of Manitoba Chief Grand Chief Cathy Merrick in an interview.

On Dec. 15, 2022, the federal government signed on to fund the feasibility study, with then-Premier Heather Stefanson saying the next day the province would provide technical resources and expertise where needed, as well as provide support financially.

January 2023

After multiple weeks of demonstrators blocking the entrance to the Brady Road Landfill, the city announced on Jan. 5, 2023, it had reached a compromise that would allow the facility to reopen the next day. Demonstrators were allowed to stay at the entrance, but residential and commercial customers were able to access the area again.

February 2023

On Feb. 8, 2023, the federal government committed $500,000 toward a feasibility study looking at the potential search of the landfill.

May 2023

On May 5, 2023, the federal minister responsible for Crown-Indigenous relations said the feasibility study was completed and being reviewed.

On May 12, 2023, details of the study were revealed. It found a search could take up to three years and cost $184 million. It also stated there were “considerable risks” but forgoing a search could be more harmful to the families of the missing women.

June 2023

On June 8, 2023, more than a month after the feasibility study was completed, it still wasn’t known who would fund a search, with then-Premier Heather Stefanson saying the search should be led by the federal government and the victims’ families.

Demonstrators took to the legislature steps on June 14, 2023, demanding both the provincial and federal governments work together to start a landfill search.

The families of two First Nations women whose remains are believed to be in a Winnipeg-area landfill took to the steps of Manitoba’s legislature on June 14, 2023. (Source: Danton Unger/CTV News Winnipeg)

July 2023

On July 5, 2023, Stefanson announced the provincial government would not support a search of the landfill. This came after meeting with family members of the victims. Some of the family members walked out of the meeting after hearing the province’s decision.

The next day, Stefanson again said the landfill search was in the hands of the federal government.

Following Stefanson’s comments, another blockade appeared on the road leading to the Brady Landfill. The city shut down the landfill saying contingency plans for garbage collection were in place.

Activists for Indigenous rights blockade the main road into the Brady Road landfill, just outside of Winnipeg, Monday, July 10, 2023, after the city issued an order to vacate the blockade site by Monday at noon. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski

On July 8, 2023, the city ordered protesters to remove the blockade by July 10, 2023; however, the blockade stayed put.

A hearing for a court injunction to remove the blockade started on July 12, 2023, and the court granted the injunction two days later.

However, protesters said they would not back down, even after the injunction was served.

A copy of the injunction was burned, bringing a cheer from the growing crowd. (Source: Danton Unger, CTV News)

On July 18, 2023, the city removed the blockade to the Brady Landfill after police reached an agreement with those blocking the road.

The next day, an encampment was set up near the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, with those at the camp saying they continue to protest against the premier’s decision not to support a search.

August 2023

With an election months away, Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew announced on Aug. 9, 2023, that if his party was elected as the new government, the party would support a search of the landfill.

Then-Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont also took the stance in support of a landfill search, but the Progressive Conservatives stood strong on the decision to not search.

September 2023

The Manitoba Progressive Conservatives were under fire at the end of September after the party took out a full-page ad in the Winnipeg Free Press saying to answer to searching the landfill had to be no.

The former federal minister of Crown-Indigenous relations called the ad “cruel” and “heartless.”

October 2023

After forming the new Government of Manitoba, Premier Wab Kinew met with the families of the two victims on Oct. 26, 2023, apologizing to them for being used as a “political prop” by the former government.

November 2023

On Nov. 6, 2023, Skibicki was in court for a pretrial hearing and he pleaded not guilty to all four counts of first-degree murder.

January 2024

In January, the family of Morgan Harris filed human rights complaints against the Progressive Conservative Party and the Manitoba government, alleging Indigenous women, girls, 2SLGBTQQIA+ people and their families were being discriminated against due to the delay in searching the landfill.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs also released its feasibility study into a landfill search, saying it could cost $90 million, although searchers could face a “very high risk” from asbestos.

March 2024

The federal and provincial governments each commit $20 million toward funding a search of the Prairie Green Landfill.

April 2024

An attempt by Skibicki’s lawyer to have one of his charges quashed was dismissed by a judge.

Skibicki’s lawyers said the count related to Buffalo Woman should be quashed due to the fact her body has not been found and she has not been identified. Chief Justice Glenn Joyal rejected the request.

On April 29, 2024, the trial for Jeremy Skibicki commences.

-With files from CTV’s Jeff Keele, Charles Lefebvre, Danton Unger, Tayor Brock, Daniel Halmarson, Josh Crabb, Dan Vadeboncoeur and The Canadian Press.

 

  

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