Police have charged a 20-year-old man in the slaying of a young woman at the side of the road in the Manitoba town of Lac du Bonnet.
RCMP say the 19-year-old victim, who was from Pointe du Bois, Man., called police herself around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday to request emergency assistance.
She was found next to a car on Highway 502, the main road through Lac du Bonnet, a town of slightly more than 1,000 people 90 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.
Police say she was suffering from life-threatening injuries and was rushed to hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Jordan Belyk, of no fixed address, is charged with manslaughter and is currently in custody.
A man who lives in the area told CBC News he walked past the car around 6:45 a.m. and saw a person slumped over on the ground next to it.
One woman, who asked not to be named, saw the 19-year-old in a gas station about 15 minutes before she was found on the roadside.
She remembers the moment — around 6:30 a.m. — because it was punctuated by a bizarre incident. A man rushed inside, breathless and not wearing a shirt or shoes, she said.
He ignored staff when they asked him if he was OK and when they told him he wasn't allowed inside dressed like that.
"He was just walking around the store and ducking every few seconds," the woman said. "I actually thought he was going to rob the place, from the way he was acting."
The man then went up to the 19-year-old and asked for a ride, and they left together.
She said her heart stopped when she later learned a man was arrested and the young woman was dead.
"I could have stopped her from leaving, if I would have known," the woman said, adding it seemed like the pair knew each other.
Police have not said anything about the relationship between the dead woman and Belyk.
The man who found the 19-year-old next to the car said he, too, came face-to-face with a shirtless man.
As he was leaving for work and just before coming across the grisly scene, a shirtless man came up from the river and ran through his yard, soaking wet, he said.
RCMP closed the section of Highway 502 where the young woman's body was found for the investigation. It was still closed on Wednesday morning.
Court records show Belyk has a previous conviction for assault.
CBC News has confirmed Belyk's mother, Cara Lynn Hiebert, was the victim of a homicide in Winnipeg dating back to July 2011.
Her killing remains unsolved.
Hiebert, 31, was found dead in her Redwood Avenue home by construction workers.
At the time Winnipeg police said she had been physically assaulted.
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