Phoenix Sinclair

RCMP have found what they believe is the gravesite of a missing five-year-old on the Fisher River First Nation in Manitoba.

But Phoenix Sinclair's body is not there because wild animals have been at the site, CBC Radio's Brendan O'Hallarn reported from the bush where the RCMP have been working.

There is evidence that a body had been in the grave, Sgt. Steve Colwell said, and police will do DNA tests and continue their investigation under a heated tent.

A forensic unit is on the scene.

As this was happening, about 30 people attended a memorial for the little girl on Thursday.

Police believe Phoenix was killed last June, although no one reported her missing until early March.

Following a tip last weekend, the Mounties searched a heavily wooded area south of the community.

Last week, Sinclair's mother, 24-year-old Samantha Dawn Kematch and her boyfriend, 43-year-old Carl Wesley McKay, were charged with first-degree murder.

Fisher River resident Willy Whiteway doesn't believe many people knew the little girl was on the reserve.

"I never knew the child myself. I never knew that there was a Phoenix around," Whiteway said. "Maybe a lot of people didn't know about the child."

Phoenix had been in the care of Child and Family Services but was returned to her mother's care.

The Fisher River reserve is about 170 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.