8 of 54 murders of aboriginal women remain unsolved, OPP says
Commissioner hopes releasing information will spur new leads from public in some cases
Eight of the 54 murders of indigenous women that have been investigated by the Ontario Provincial Police remain unsolved, according to a report released by the force today.
Of the 126 men murdered within OPP jurisdiction, one remains unsolved, while 39 indigenous men remain missing.
Of the 46 solved female indigenous homicides:
- Nine were murdered by family member.
- Seventeen were murdered by their partner or spouse.
- Nineteen were murdered by someone who knew the victim.
- One was of unknown circumstances.
A separate part of the report focuses on homicides of indigenous men and covers the period 1978 to December 2014.
During that period, there were 126 homicides of indigenous men in OPP jurisdiction, with one remaining unsolved. Of the 125 cases that were solved:
- Thirty-five were murdered by family members.
- Ten were murdered by their partner or spouse.
- Seventy were murdered by persons known to victim.
- Nine were of "unknown circumstances."
- One is not available.
Of the eight missing indigenous women reported to the OPP who remain missing, the force says foul play is possible or suspected in one case. Of the 39 cases that involve missing indigenous men, police believe foul play is possible or suspected for 22 cases.
Police consider a case solved when a criminal charge is laid.
The OPP began reviewing all cases involving aboriginal victims starting in 2011.
The report, which can be downloaded here, includes a compilation of case file information, except in a few cases where families didn't consent to their release.
Families hope for 'justice and closure'
Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day attended the news conference and commended the OPP for turning their attention to the cases. He said family members of many of the victims have been frustrated with how the cases were investigated.
"Families felt more extensive investigations could have taken place, and noted that justice seems to work differently for First Nations and non-First Nations citizens," said Day.
He said the report shows a commitment by the OPP to bring "justice and closure" to the unsolved cases.
Day said relations between Ontario's First Nations and the OPP have often been strained. He mentioned the 1995 killing of Dudley George, who was shot by an OPP officer during a protest at Ipperwash park.
"Far too many First Nations people are victims of the worst crimes imaginable," he said.
Bring back human element
Deputy Grand Chief Denise Stonefish, of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, said she encouraged other police forces to take similar steps.
"Ontario First Nations leadership want to bring back the human element to the missing and murdered indigenous women tagline," she said.
OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes said he's hopes that releasing the information will spur new leads in some of the cases.
"It's about opening up the doors and saying 'We want more,'" said Hawkes. "We want to hear from people, and we're hoping for some positive outcomes."
The OPP do not believe any of the murders are "serial in nature."