British Columbia

Body of missing Saskatchewan man found near B.C. RCMP detachment a year after his release

Brandon Sakebow, 23, was detained overnight shortly before he disappeared last year. His body was found near the detachment in early April this year.

Brandon Sakebow, 23, was detained overnight shortly before he disappeared in 2020

Brandon Sakebow, right, with his mother Laurie Sakebow. Brandon's family said they knew something was wrong when he stopped calling his mother after March 20, 2020. (Submitted by Laurie Sakebow)

The body of a young man from Saskatchewan who has been missing since March 2020 has been found in Mission, B.C., just a few blocks from the RCMP detachment where he had been held overnight before he was declared missing. 

The family of Brandon Sakebow, 23, confirmed that his remains, which were found on April 6, have been identified. 

"We were thinking, as long as we found him we get to bring him home," said Debra Sakebow, Bradon's aunt. "And the other part is it was gut wrenching, you know, knowing it was Brandon because we didn't want that outcome."

A hiker found Brandon's remains on the 31000 block of Hillcrest Ave. in Mission, about four blocks away from the RCMP detachment there. 

Sakebow says the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan, told them as soon as the remains were found. The family is from the Pelican Lake First Nation in central Saskatchewan.

DNA testing later confirmed it was Brandon Sakebow. 

Police watchdog investigating

In a written statement issued earlier this week, B.C.'s police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office of B.C., said it was investigating the death of a man that fit a description of Brandon. 

The office said he had been arrested and lodged in RCMP cells overnight on March 21, 2020. He was reported missing on March 27, 2020. Brandon's family says they last heard from him on March 20. 

The IIO investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death. It will investigate to determine what role, if any, police actions or inaction may have played in Brandon's death. 

Debra Sakebow says the family found it odd that he hadn't been in touch when he went missing because he texted his mother good morning and goodnight every day. 

Brandon and his mother were very close, Sakebow says. 

"I'm glad that somebody is investigating because people just don't disappear like that," she said. "There's still a lot of questions." 

Sakebow says the BC Coroner's Officer is conducting an autopsy.

Displaced by house fire

In the last year, Sakebow's family has made nearly 10 trips to B.C. to look for him. The family previously told CBC News the pandemic kept them from coming more often. 

Sakebow said her nephew had "such a good heart" and was the type of person who would talk and share food with anyone who needed it. 

Before he disappeared, Brandon was on parole after serving time in federal prison.

He was living in a halfway house in Abbotsford and had a job as a rebar worker, but after a fire displaced all the halfway house's residents in early March, he started asking his family if he could come back home to them.

After he went missing, the RCMP said his cellphone, bag and clothes were found in a stolen van in Abbotsford a few days later.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maryse Zeidler

@MaryseZeidler

Maryse Zeidler is a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver, covering news from across British Columbia. You can reach her at maryse.zeidler@cbc.ca.

With files from Julia Peterson

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