Families of murder victims still in dark over when search of Manitoba landfill will start

Dave Baxter
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Winnipeg Sun

More than a year and a half after police announced the human remains of two Indigenous women were believed to be in a Manitoba landfill and more than two months after governments pledged tens of millions dollars to search for their remains, families say they are still in the dark about when a landfill search could get underway.

“I don’t know what the delay is anymore, things need to start happening,” Melissa Robinson said in a live video posted on Facebook Thursday evening.

“I’m tired of all the waiting.”

Robinson, the cousin of Morgan Harris, one of two women whose remains are believed to be somewhere in the Prairie Green Landfill north of Winnipeg, announced in her live video that a ‘search the landfill’ rally will be held outside of the Manitoba Law Courts on Monday afternoon.

Closing arguments are expected Monday at the Law Courts in Winnipeg, in the murder case of Jeremy Skibicki, who has admitted to the killings of Harris, as well as Marcedes Myran, Rebecca Contois, and a woman yet to be identified that community members are referring to as Buffalo Woman. Myran’s remains are also believed to be in Prairie Green Landfill.

Once the trial wraps up, the judge in the case will then determine if Skibicki is guilty of four counts of first degree murder, or not criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder, and Robinson said they expect the judge to render his decision by the end of this month.

Robinson said the weeks that families of Skibicki’s victims have spent in court and the disturbing details revealed in the trial have been “exhausting,” but as the trial winds down, they once again want to put their focus on their fight to get the Prairie Green Landfill searched, and are hoping for a big and vocal crowd on Monday afternoon in downtown Winnipeg.

“We would love to see people coming out with their drums and their signs,” Robinson said. “Let’s bring it loud, and let’s bring our women home.”

Since Winnipeg Police (WPS) said after the murders were announced in December of 2022 that they would not search the landfill for the women’s remains, families of Myran and Harris have been calling for a landfill search, and on multiple occasions advocates set up blockades at the Brady Road Landfill in Winnipeg, as they try to force levels of government to take action to get a search going.

On March 22, the province and the federal government promised funding of $20 million each towards a landfill search, but Robinson said since that announcement they have heard no new updates on the status of a search, and are once again frustrated and demanding answers.

“We’ve heard nothing but we’re demanding it starts now,” Robinson said.

Police in 2022 rejected the idea of a search, in part because of the potential danger from toxic substances and the volume of material at the landfill.

Manitoba’s former Progressive Conservative government and former PC leader Heather Stefanson said before being voted out of office last October they would offer no assistance or funding for a search of

the landfill, and used that promise in their election campaign touting their decision to “stand firm” against calls for a search during last fall’s provincial election.

But since taking office, the NDP and Premier Wab Kinew have promised that the government would support a search of the landfill, and the federal government has also pledged support although both offered no new updates on Friday.

“Our commitment to the landfill search remains the same, we will be searching the landfill,” a provincial spokesperson said in a Friday email. “There are no other updates to announce at this time.”

The federal government did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

  • With files from the Canadian Press