Missing & Murdered: The Unsolved Cases of Indigenous Women and Girls
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UPDATE: Jesse Martin, 33, charged in 2014 death of Freda Goodrunning


For the first 31 years of her life, Freda Goodrunning had a home.

She was Cree and lived on Sunchild First Nation, Alta. Eventually, she got married and had six children. She was close with her family.

“She was always giggly,­­ always happy, ­­no matter what kind of situation,” said her cousin, Amanda Goodrunning.

“She always seemed to make people smile. Just really, she was a happy person.”

The last four years of her life were different.

Freda had moved to Edmonton, suffered domestic violence, developed an addiction to alcohol and ended up on the street.

Freda would sleep in dumpsters and tents (one tucked behind a Walmart on Edmonton’s south side) and occasionally on people’s couches.

“I just think about it in my head, like, ‘Oh my God, how can she sleep there? Where does she eat?’” said Amanda.

“I get kind of upset knowing that we could’ve brought her home,­­ we could’ve tried to force her to [come] home.”

Freda could’ve gone home to her First Nation, Amanda said, but Freda’s kids were in Edmonton, and she stayed there to visit them when she could.

Freda would keep in touch via Facebook, and Amanda would drop off money when she could.

The pair grew up together;­­ they were only a few months apart in age. As kids, they would watch scary movies, run around outside and sometimes go to bingo with Freda’s mom.

“We didn’t have many things when we grew up. We would just go play outside and just have fun, I guess,” said Amanda.

“It was good. It was good growing up with her.”

Later, when Freda was living in Edmonton, she would get to a phone and leave her cousin funny messages.

“I’d wake up and she’d leave a song that she just made up,” said Amanda.

“Yes, she was sunny, and I really miss that about her.”

On June 4, 2014, Edmonton police found Freda’s body in a shed behind a building in the city’s west end. Officers later revealed she was killed­­ and suffered blunt force trauma.

Amanda has no idea who would have wanted to hurt Freda.

“She wasn’t even a mean person. She was just this jolly, happy person, no matter what kind of situation she was in. She always kept a smile no matter [what],” said Amanda.

“She wasn’t the kind of person that you’d want to hurt ... She’s just a small, little lady.”

Amanda said the last few months of Freda’s life were difficult.

She was attacked in March before she died, and she told Amanda she was scared and wanted to come home.

The last time Amanda spoke to her cousin was over Facebook, a week before she was killed.

Freda had asked her to check some phone messages.

In December 2016, Edmonton Police charged Jesse Marting, 33, with second-degree murder in connection with her death and possession of an offensive weapon.

Do you have more information on any of these cases?

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Contact us by email at mmiw@cbc.ca or anonymously via SecureDrop.

CBC News continues to investigate missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada, looking at the unsolved cases and telling the stories of the families and communities.