Landfill search for Tanya Nepinak is over
Family members of Tanya Nepinak say they're upset that the search for her remains at Winnipeg's Brady Road landfill has come to an end.
The search, which began Oct. 3, ended on Oct. 9 with no evidence located, the Winnipeg Police Service announced Thursday.
Nepinak, 31, went missing in September 2011 and though her remains have never been found, police believe they may be buried somewhere in the city landfill and that she was killed by alleged serial killer Shawn Lamb.
Const. Jason Michalyshen said the search was gruelling and did not uncover Nepinak's remains.
"As the excavation process takes place, there could be all kinds of gases that can be released from the ground. Officers … were all suited with respirators. Their safety was paramount," Michalyshen told reporters.
Lamb, 52, was charged in June with second-degree murder in the deaths of Nepinak and two other women who went missing in Winnipeg.
Police have said they believe Nepinak's body was placed in a garbage bin that was emptied in the landfill.
Search area ID'd by elders
This past summer, police originally identified a large search area but then scaled that back to a five-metre-square space, focusing on an area identified by aboriginal elders who had held a traditional ceremony there.
Michalyshen said police always knew there was a slim chance — about five per cent — of finding any of Nepinak's remains, but he said officers were hopeful when the elders helped narrow the search area.
But Nepinak's sister, Gail Nepinak, said she is upset because she believes police searched in the wrong area.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday afternoon, Nepinak said Winnipeg police relied on advice from an elder who was not working closely with her family.
The search took place in a section of the landfill that was a distance, about the length of a football field, away from the site the family had identified, she said.
Gail Nepinak said she discovered this when family members went to the site last week, and now she is demanding a meeting with the police chief.
While police have ended the landfill search, Michalyshen said the search for Nepinak's remains is not over.
"We want members of the family to really understand that our commitment is sincere," he said.
"Despite the fact that we haven't found anything pertinent to the Nepinak investigation, our commitment is unwavered."
Anyone with information related to the Nepinak case is asked to contact police at 1-855-817-4949 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).