The trial of two men accused of murdering a Winnipeg man and stuffing his body into a barrel, then the river, is hearing testimony on Tuesday from his girlfriend — one of the last people to see him alive.

The remains of Chad Davis, 22, were found wrapped in industrial-style plastic inside the barrel that surfaced on the Lee River northeast of Winnipeg, near Lac du Bonnet, in July 2008.

He had been reported missing nearly six months earlier. He was last seen on Prince Rupert Avenue in Winnipeg's East Kildonan area.

Chad Davis

The remains of Chad Davis, 22, were discovered inside a barrel that had been floating near the shoreline of the Lee River in July 2008. (Police handout)

​His girlfriend, Courtney Sych, testified on Tuesday afternoon that on Feb. 6, 2008, Davis got a call from Cory Tymchyshyn — one of two men charged with first-degree murder in his death — asking for a ride.

Davis and Sych were planning to start a new life in Calgary, but he had to collect debts from a few people, including Tymchyshyn, Sych told the court.

Sych said Davis told her he would come back to the hotel where they were staying in 30 minutes, but he never returned.

Sych, who broke down several times during her testimony, said Davis was not always a nice guy, but near the end of his life he was a great guy.

Manitoba's chief medical examiner, Dr. Thambirajah​ Balachandra, told court earlier on Tuesday that Davis died from multiple blows to the head.


The remains of Chad Davis were found in this barrel, pulled from the Lee River near Lac du Bonnet in 2008. The photo is part of a series shown to jurors at the trial. (CBC)

Davis could have been hit from behind with a hammer multiple times, Balachandra said.

Tymchyshyn and Kristopher Brincheski are each charged with first-degree murder. Their trial began Monday and is expected to run for six weeks.

Court heard on Monday that Davis was a cocaine dealer who was trying to collect on an outstanding debt of $18,000 to $28,000 from Tymchyshyn.

Two men out fixing a dock in cottage country discovered Davis’s remains.

They told CBC News at the time that the barrel had been floating in the Lee River for a couple of weeks before they decided to retrieve it and pry it open.

After making the horrific discovery, they immediately called RCMP.