Dakota Hunter was found badly beaten early Saturday on the side of a road in the northern Manitoba community of Nelson House First Nation. He died later at Thompson General Hospital, police said. ((CBC))

Police have arrested two teenagers after a teen was beaten to death on Saturday in the remote northern Manitoba community of Nelson House First Nation.

Two suspects from the community, both 16, are in police custody in connection with the death of Dakota Hunter, 17.

Hunter was found badly beaten about 4:30 a.m. CT on Saturday on the side of a community road about 80 kilometres west of Thompson, Man., and rushed to Thompson General Hospital, where he later died. A nurse who attended to Hunter said the boy was beaten "beyond all recognition."

An autopsy is scheduled Monday at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg.

Formal charges were expected to be laid against the two teens on Sunday.

Hunter's aunt, Colleen Hunter, said the family is in shock and has no idea what prompted the violence against her nephew, who had been bullied in the past.

"It's just out of the blue that this incident happened and then, like — our nephew — how did that happen?" she said. "We still have a lot of questions."

She said her nephew was a quiet boy who was very involved in his community, which is home to the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation.

Hunter was profiled by CBC News four years ago when he started taking taekwondo lessons to deal with bullies. But after his story aired, his situation changed, the CBC's Mychaylo Prystupa reported. The bullying got worse and Hunter quit martial arts.

Gang violence is a problem in Nelson House, but people close to Hunter said he was not a gang member and found ways to serve his community, such as fundraising, Prystupa reported.

Hunter was also a member of the Cree Lance Runners Society, a group whose goal is to build solidarity among members of the Cree nation and eliminate violence within its communities, she said.

The RCMP continue to investigate the beating on the reserve, about 850 kilometres north of Winnipeg.