‘My heart breaks’: Indigenous mother’s body found in Winnipeg landfill
WARNING: The details in this article may be disturbing to some viewers.
Winnipeg police say the body of an Indigenous mother of four has been found in a city landfill.
Insp. Shawn Pike of the major crimes division said at 3 p.m. on Monday, staff at the Brady Landfill reported that a body had been found at an active area of the facility. The area was closed off and police responded, confirming a body had been found.
Police identified the woman as 33-year-old Linda Mary Beardy. A family member told CTV News Beardy was a mother of four children.
A statement from the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) said Beardy was a member of the Lake St. Martin First Nation.
The body of Linda Mary Beardy (pictured), a mother of four from Lake St. Martin First Nation, was found on April 3, 2023, in the Brady Landfill in Winnipeg. (Source: Farrah Traverse)
“First Nations citizens continue to live with the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two spirit, and gender-diverse people,” SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels said in the statement.
Police said Beardy had been living in Winnipeg recently, but was not considered to be a missing person prior to her body being found.
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This news comes amid ongoing calls to search the Brady Landfill and the Prairie Green Landfill for the remains of four Indigenous women – Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, Rebecca Contois, and an unidentified woman that Indigenous leaders have named Buffalo Woman.
Police believe all four women were killed by alleged serial killer Jeremy Skibicki, who has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder.
However, Pike said police do not believe this most recent discovery is related.
“I can confirm at this time we have no information to suggest that there are any other victims or that this investigation is related to any previous incidents,” Pike said.
He said the entire Brady Landfill is on an operational pause as the police identification unit works at the scene. CTV News has found a police car blocking the road to Brady Landfill.
A Winnipeg police car is seen blocking the entrance to the Brady Landfill on April 4, 2023. (Source: Ken Gabel/CTV News)
Pike said police do not believe Beardy’s body had been in the landfill very long, based on the information investigators have found so far.
“In fact, from what I can tell from the information we are getting, is that from the time that these remains were left at or located at the Brady Landfill was probably a matter of a couple hours,” he said.
Pike said he could not comment on the cause of death, but said the homicide unit is now investigating.
“If anyone feels they have any information, no matter how small, please reach out to us and give us a chance to follow up,” he said.
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Cambria Harris, the daughter of Morgan Harris, said she isn’t surprised to learn another woman’s remains were found at a landfill.
The remains of her mother as well as those of Marcedes Myran are believed to be somewhere in the Prairie Green Landfill.
Harris said she wants to see more done to protect Indigenous women.
”It breaks my heart because now lately it’s a lot more mothers going missing, and this woman was a mother,” she said. “Being a mother myself, my heart breaks.”
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Cathy Merrick is heading up the feasibility study to search the Prairie Green Landfill. She thinks other missing people could also be at Brady Landfill.
”Work has to be done at both landfills to look for our women that are missing,” she said. “It’s a dumping ground for people that are killing our First Nation women.”
Merrick is calling for Prairie Green Landfill and Brady Landfill to be shut down and searched.
“It’s time for the government to ensure that they be able to come to the table to sit at the table with First Nation leaders and to listen to us.”
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Daniels said the SCO had called for the Brady Landfill to be classified as an active crime scene in December.
“Only a few months later and we are hearing of one of our sacred women being located in this space. This is devastating news,” Daniels said. “It is clear that so much more needs to be done to protect our women.”
Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham said it is very concerning to hear police have found the body of another Indigenous woman in the landfill.
“We cannot become numb to these tragedies,” he told reporters Tuesday. “Winnipeg certainly is not alone in dealing with situations like this, but we must take our own actions to ensure the health and safety of our citizens, especially Indigenous women and girls.”
The Southern Chiefs’ Organization said it is holding a community gathering space and a sacred fire Tuesday evening.
The federal government says it is in communication with the City of Winnipeg and the grand chief. It says it is working to address the root causes of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls and two-spirit people.
There is a support line available for those impacted by missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2S+ people: 1-844-413-6649.
Additional mental-health and community-based emotional support and cultural services are also available through the federal government.
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