David Joseph Boulanger, also known as Divas B., disappeared in the fall of 2004 and was found dead near Portage la Prairie in November of that year. ((CBC))

A man has been arrested in the 2004 homicide of transgendered prostitute David Joseph Boulanger, whose beaten body was found near Portage la Prairie, Man.

Theodore Raymond Herntier, 40, has been charged with second-degree murder, the RCMP announced at a news conference Friday afternoon.

Herntier was arrested Wednesday near Arcola, Sask., a town about 180 kilometres southeast of Regina.

He used to live in Winnipeg and is being transferred back to the city for court proceedings, RCMP spokesman Const. Miles Hiebert said.

'I'm happy they didn't give up.' —Tammy Boulanger, the victim's sister

"I'm happy they didn't give up," Boulanger's sister, Tammy, said about the RCMP investigation during an interview with CBC News.

Boulanger, who was also known as Divas B., was found in November 2004 in the scrub beside a rest stop along the Trans-Canada Highway, about eight kilometres east of Portage la Prairie.

An autopsy revealed Boulanger had died of blunt-force trauma, Hiebert said, adding, "It has been determined the murder occurred at a location in the city of Winnipeg."


Police search the area at a Trans-Canada Highway rest stop where Boulanger's body was found. ((CBC))

The 28-year-old Boulanger was originally from Berens River, a fly-in aboriginal community on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, about 275 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

Boulanger was last seen in the area of Sargent Avenue and Young Street in Winnipeg on Sept. 30, 2004, and was reported missing on Oct. 13, 2004.

Hiebert said the arrest was the result "of an ongoing, lengthy investigation" by the RCMP in collaboration with the Manitoba Integrated Task Force for Murdered and Missing Women and the Winnipeg Police Service.

No new evidence or witnesses have come forward, he added.

 "There were numerous witnesses to interview, mountains of forensic evidence to go through … and it's taken this long to put the evidence together in a fashion that an arrest could be made," Hiebert said.

He would not say what is believed to have happened in the hours leading up to Boulanger's death, but said the killing is not believed to be connected to other cases.

"We have nothing to indicate at this time that there's any link between this suspect and any other homicides."

The killing was one of three deaths of transgendered sex-trade workers in Winnipeg in a three-year span.

Simon Riley Bloomfield was killed by a car on a highway north of the city in 2002. The previous year, Noreen Taylor died on a city road after an apparent attack.

With files from The Canadian Press