Missing woman's remains found in Winnipeg rooming house
Myrna Lisa Letandre, 36, was last seen on Oct. 5, 2006
The remains of a woman missing since 2006 have been found in a Winnipeg rooming house, police in Manitoba have confirmed.
Myrna Lisa Letandre was 36 when she was last seen Oct. 5, 2006, near Memorial Boulevard in the city's downtown.
The rooming house, on Lorne Avenue in Winnipeg's Point Douglas neighbourhood, has been the scene of a police investigation since Tuesday.
Human remains found at the house by police on Thursday have been identified as those of Letandre, said RCMP Cpl. Miles Hiebert.
Letandre's death is being treated as a homicide, he added. No arrests have been made to date and investigators continue to search the house.
Hiebert said it's the first time police have been able to link human remains to a missing woman's case as part of Project Devote.
"I can only imagine how good it would be for the family to finally to be able to have some closure," he told reporters on Friday.
"As tragic as the news is, and as sad as a death in the family is, to be able to know at long last what's become of their loved ones will be really critical."
Each of the Project Devote cases, some dating back to 1961, involve a victim of high or extremely high risk due to lifestyle. Almost all of the cases involve women.
Hiebert said British Columbia RCMP provided Project Devote investigators with information that prompted the search for Letandre at the rooming house, but he wouldn't provide further details.
On Thursday, the rooming house caretaker told CBC News that officers carried a number of boxes and plastic bags out of the basement.
'Wouldn't hurt a fly'
Letandre, originally from Pinaymootang (Fairford) First Nation in Manitoba's Interlake region, also spent time in Alberta and British Columbia.
Her cousin, Pinaymootang band Coun. Barry Anderson, said Letandre was a shy, quiet person who was raised by her grandparents.
"She's quiet; the kind of person that wouldn't hurt a fly," Anderson said.
Letandre had an accident that left her wearing leg crutches and needing a cane to get around, he said.
Anderson said family members are saddened by the news.
"She'll rest in peace now and bring some closure for now," he said. "Hopefully justice will be served."
Leaders demand national inquiry
Gerald McIvor, a spokesman with the Southern Chiefs Organization, said his group has reached out to Letandre's family to offer its support.
"I do extend our deepest condolences and also promise them that we will not stop our political efforts to force the Stephen Harper government to hold a national inquiry into the missing and murdered women's issue," McIvor said.
"We will not stop until every family of every missing and murdered woman has closure and … the perpetrators are all held to account."
Eric Robinson, Manitoba's aboriginal and northern affairs minister, said he has written to his federal counterpart, Bernard Valcourt, repeating his call for a national inquiry.
"I think it further enhances … the need for a national inquiry because of the scope of how these things have unfolded," Robinson said.
Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said he hopes police are diligent in uncovering details about other Project Devote cases.
"There's going to have to be some difficult questions that are going to be asked about how is it that after … almost seven years that all of a sudden they're able to provide closure in this one particular incident," he said.
Slain B.C. woman lived at house
Hiebert would not say on Friday whether the discovery of Letandre's remains has anything to do with another death linked this week to the rooming house.
Sources told CBC News on Wednesday that a woman recently found dead in British Columbia had lived there with her husband, who has since been charged in connection with her death.
Jennifer McPherson, 41, was most recently living on Hanson Island, B.C., and was reported missing by her family on May 1.
Her remains were found on the remote island on Monday and her husband, 37-year-old Traigo Ehkid Andretti, has been charged with second-degree murder.
According to McPherson's family members, the couple moved from Winnipeg to B.C. about five years ago.
McPherson and Andretti were working at a fishing lodge on Hanson Island, located on the northeast coast of Vancouver Island.