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Home News Myles Sanderson dies after being arrested near Rosthern by RCMP

Myles Sanderson dies after being arrested near Rosthern by RCMP

Myles Sanderson dies after being arrested near Rosthern by RCMP
Police cars surround the vehicle stolen by Myles Sanderson prior to his arrest on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022. -- Photo courtesy of Ken MacKinley.

The search for Myles Sanderson is over, but many questions still remain.

Sanderson was arrested by RCMP on Hwy 11 near Rosthern at around 3:30 p.m. Afterwards, however, officers say Sanderson went into medical distress. He was transported by EMS to Saskatoon where he later died in hospital.

Saskatchewan RCMP commanding officer Rhonda Blackmore said residents can now breathe a sigh of relief at Sanderson’s capture, but declined to give any more details about how he died.

“I can’t speak to the specific manner of his death,” Blackmore said during a Wednesday evening press conference. “That’s going to be part of the autopsy that will be conducted.”

The Saskatchewan RCMP has requested the Saskatoon Police Service and the Saskatchewan Incident Response Team conduct an independent external investigation intro circumstances surrounding the incident. 

Earlier Wednesday afternoon Sanderson was sighted in a yard where he then stole a white Chevrolet Avalanche he was later arrested in. RCMP received more than 20 calls from people who saw the stolen truck. It was also seen travelling west by a Rosthern RCMP officer in an unmarked vehicle, allowing police to confirm the licence plate number. The officer clocked Sanderson’s speed at 150 km/hr.

The vehicle was spotted traveling south on Highway 11 at the time. Blackmore said officers forced Sanderson to drive into a ditch, then surrounded him and confirmed his identity through verbal communication.

A knife was also located inside the vehicle.

The emergency alert was cancelled at 3:50 p.m. after Sanderson’s identity was confirmed. Police are still working to determine if he had an accomplice.

Blackmore said that the RCMP had been working on locating Sanderson since Sunday and following every tip using every tactic available to them.

“We have experts who continue to conduct forensic investigation of the 13 main crime scenes as well as the other associated crime scenes such as vehicles,” she explained. “We are also now examining the additional crime scenes that have occurred today.”

Blackmore said investigators have conducted more than 120 interviews with witnesses and victims. She expects more to take place over the coming days.

About 400 investigative tasks had been completed so far. This includes issuing 11 emergency alerts, providing supports services to work with victims and families and taking a trauma informed approach to insure survivors are cared for.

As well they have had the Saskatchewan RCMPs Divisional Emergency Operations Centre (DEOC) active. The DEOC has been staffed 24 hours a day with a combination of police officers and civilian employees.

“This is not the end of our work,” Blackmore said. “We do not stop here, the Saskatchewan RCMP continues to investigate this tragedy and a police presence will continue in James Smith Cree Nation and the Weldon communities for the next while.”

The initial Nissan SUV from the report on Sunday has not been found and is part of the ongoing investigation.

Blackmore said the RCMP has learned that a vehicle was broken into in Weldon and a First Aid kit was taken. This leads them to believe that Sanderson had some type of injury.

Myles’ late brother Damien Sanderson is still considered a suspect in the homicides.

Blackmore said that no firearms were believed to be involved in the crime spree.

“The manners of death will certainly be part of the autopsies and make that determination. In the vehicle, today the weapon in the vehicle was a knife. We are still putting together the parts of the investigation that will speak to Damien’s cause of death and there are aspects with Myles being deceased that we may not know how some things unfolded with how that incident unfolded between the two of them. We are certainly looking at all avenues there,” she said.

The motive for the crime spree may never be known, according to Blackmore.

“Unfortunately now that Myles is deceased we will never have an understanding of that motivation,” she said. “We have conducted 150 interviews to this point, there is more that we have to do but witnesses and people around him only have so much information, his motivation may at this time and forever only be known to Myles.”

Blackmore offered her condolences to the families and all impacted by the events.

“Our thoughts are with you and I hope that now you will be able to start healing. Thank you for your cooperation during this incredibly difficult time. I would also like to acknowledge the incredible support from our municipal and provincial partners as well as the outstanding work completed by our RCMP officers who worked tirelessly day and night to bring this file to this conclusion,” she said.

Before the press conference, Blackmore visited James Smith and Weldon.

“I was able to see firsthand the generosity and support from the residents of both James Smith Cree Nation, Weldon and the Melfort communities. I would like to thank all members of the public who submitted tips and followed up on our request to provide information no matter how small, no matter how seemingly insignificant as part of this investigation. Thank you to everyone for your part in helping to keep one another safe,” Blackmore said.

Blackmore hoped that the search concluding would offer a sense of closure, and allow residents in Weldon and James Smith Cree Nation to rest easy knowing Sanderson was no longer a threat.

“I think that’s important because they can start that healing process,” she said. “I think that it is going to be a long and extensive process.”