A man serving a life sentence for slaying and dismembering his wife in B.C. has now been charged with killing a Winnipeg woman who went missing in October 2006.
Traigo Ehkid Andretti, 38, was arrested by Winnipeg police on May 30 in British Columbia and has been moved to Manitoba where he faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of Myrna Letandre, 36.
The woman's remains were found last spring buried in the foundation of a rooming house on Lorne Avenue in Winnipeg's Point Douglas neighbourhood.
At the time she disappeared, Letandre had been living in the rooming house, as was Andretti and his wife, Jennifer McPherson.
Letandre's family members told CBC News in May 2013 that the dead woman's sister had asked police to search the rooming house in 2006, but they say that was never done.
According to court documents obtained by CBC News in 2013, Letandre's sister, Lorna Sinclair, told police that Letandre had mentioned having a relationship with a man named "Traego."
Letandre was unemployed at the time of her disappearance and was receiving disability benefit payments, said Sinclair. Letandre continued to receive disability cheques after her disappearance, but none was ever cashed.
Letandre was from the Pinaymootang First Nation, located between Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin. That is where she is now buried.
Manitoba RCMP and Winnipeg police held a news conference Monday to release details in the Letandre homicide case and announce the arrest of Andretti.
"While we are pleased to bring these charges before the courts, our thoughts go out to Ms. Letandre’s family members, who have suffered an overwhelming loss. We hope this will bring them some measure of justice,” said Danny Smyth, Winnipeg Police Service superintendent of investigative operations.
Andretti, who is also known as Dylan Harold Grubb, was charged with first-degree murder last year in B.C. in the death of his wife, Jennifer McPherson. He pleaded guilty last month to the murder and dismemberment of McPherson, 41.
Andretti's arrest is the first arrest resulting from Project Devote, a task force dedicated to investigating the cases of eight missing persons and 20 homicide victims.
Each of the cases, some dating back to 1961, involves a victim of high or extremely high risk due to lifestyle, police said in July 2012, when Project Devote was launched.
The task force consists of 10 Winnipeg Police Service members, eight RCMP officers, two RCMP civilian analysts, three RCMP data entry persons and one RCMP administrative staff member.
Smythe said working with other police agencies across Canada was the key to cracking the Letandre case.
"Certainly Devote played a pivotal role in this and working with some of the agencies in British Columbia to bring this one forward," he said.
'Message of hope'
Grand Chief David Harper of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, an organization representing 30 First Nations in northern Manitoba, said the arrest will help Letandre's family heal.
He added that there are many other families waiting for word about their missing or murdered loved ones.
"It does send a message of hope. I mean, it brings closure to one," Harper said.
"This puzzle that we're working on is 1,181 pieces and one of them has been found so, you know, we've still got a long way to go."
Other leaders said they're frustrated that more hasn't been done to investigate outstanding cases.
"I'm frustrated because there's 1,100 other women that are out there, of First Nation descent…. That is my concern, and very little is happening," said Dennis White Bird of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.
Harper, White Bird and other aboriginal leaders have been urging the federal government to call a national inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered women.