Two Mounties have died nine daysafter being shot in central Saskatchewan, an RCMP spokesman confirmed Sunday, sayingtheir sacrifices would "never be forgotten."
Const. Marc Bourdages, 26,and Const. Robin Cameron, 29,had been in critical condition in a Saskatoon hospital since theshooting on July 7 near the farming community of Mildred, about 140 kilometres west of Prince Albert.
RCMP spokesman Sgt. Brian Jones confirmed the deaths in Saskatoon on Sunday at a news conference that included emotional statements from the officers' families.
"We're all tremendously saddened by today's news," Jones said. "Marc and Robin were much loved.
"The sacrifice thatboth Robin and Mark have made in the line of duty will never be forgotten."
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Darrell McFadyen confirmed that the two constables died within hours of each otherovernight.
"Robin died at approximately 11 p.m. and Marc about two hours later,"McFadyen said. "Both succumbed to severe head injuries. Despite all of the excellent care that was provided to them, they were unable to recover."
'We knew she would never come back'
The slain officers were both stationed at the RCMP detachment in Spiritwood, about 10 kilometres west of Mildred.
At the news conference on Sunday, Howard Camerontalked about how proud he was of his daughter — andhowher familycame to realize she would not recover from her injuries.
"There was nothing wrong with her heart, but wounds to her head were so devastating that doctors told us, and we knew, she would never come back," he said.
'There was nothing wrong with her heart, but wounds to her head were so devastating that doctors told us, and we knew, she would never come back.' -Howard Cameron, the father of Const. Robin Cameron
Cameron, a member of the Beardy's Okemasis First Nation north of Saskatoon, wasa single mother who leaves behind an 11-year-old daughter.
Members of Cameron's family have repeatedly stressed how proud they are of all she was able to achieve, despite a turbulent childhood and other challenges.
She was sent away to residential school when young and dropped out of high school when she became pregnant. However, she was determined to pursue her long-time dream of becoming an RCMP officer, returning to school and even getting eye surgery to qualify for the force. She had been with the Mounties for five years.
'Marc is with us now in spirit,' wife says
Bourdages, who was originally from Saint-Eustache, Que.,leaves behindhis wife, who is also anRCMP officer at the Spiritwood detachment, andtheirnine-month-old boy.
Const. Natasha Szpakowski, who worked alongside her husband,thanked the Royal University Hospital for giving him the "best care possible."
'Their love and support and the messages that we have received from across Canada helped us stay strong through this horrible week.' -Const. Natasha Szpakowski, the wife ofConst. Marc Bourdages, on the outpouring of support from family and friends
She told the news conference there had beenan outpouring of support from family and friends for Bourdages, who hadbeen with the force for5Â½ years.
"Their love and support and the messages that we have received from across Canada helped us stay strong through this horrible week," Szpakowski said.
"But I believe that Marc is with us now in spirit and that he is in a better place where he can be peaceful."
Started with dispute between Dagenais, mother
Police are still hunting for 41-year-old Curtis Dagenais, the prime suspect in the shootings, who is believed to be armed and dangerous. A week-long search has failed to find any trace of him.
Dagenais has been charged with attempted murder for shots fired ata third RCMP officer at the scene, who returned fire.
The tragedy was allegedly sparked by a disagreement on the night of July 7 between Dagenais and his mother and sister at a home in Spiritwood.
Curtis Dagenais's mother, Elsie Dagenais, and other family members have claimedthatthe family dispute stemmed from a three-year divorce battle between her and the suspect's father, Arthur Dagenais, afterdecades of domestic abuse.
Herb Jaster, the suspect's uncle on his mother's side, has said that on July 7, Curtis Dagenaisfound out that hismotherwas tobe awardedhalf ofthe family farm in a divorce property settlement. Hewent to her house to confronthis motherand sister, since he was expecting to get the farm for himself,Jaster said.
The argument escalated, police were called and Curtis Dagenaisleft in his truck.
Police gave chase, endingin the shooting near Mildred.
A massive police search was launched for the suspect but it was scaled back on July 13.
Suspect's father denied bail
Meanwhile, the suspect's father was denied bail on July 14 by a judge in North Battleford, Sask., who ruled his release would be a risk to public safety.
Judge Violet Meekma said Arthur Dagenais, 69, should not be released on bail because he has a history of animosity towards police. He was charged with obstruction of justice earlier in the week after returning to his farm, which police had ordered him to stay away from while they were searching for his son.
His next court appearance is July 26.