A Red Deer man who strangled a woman and left her body in a dumpster has been handed a life sentence.

Nathan Michael Desharnais, 28, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder partway through his trial.

Desharnais admitted he was high on cocaine and sleeping pills the night he killed 27-year-old Talia Meguinis in 2012.

Her body was found in Red Deer's Riverside industrial park on Feb. 22, 2012.

Investigators say the Calgary mother of three young sons had arrived in Red Deer a few days earlier and was last seen alive on Feb. 20.

They think her body was dumped in a recycling bin, which was later emptied into a truck and taken to the depot, where her body was discovered.

Relatives say Meguinis, from Tsuu T'ina First Nation, was a beautiful young woman with a trusting nature who didn't see bad in others.