Manitoba

'I don't want to lose any more friends,' woman says after man found dead in car

A Selkirk woman battling an addiction to opiates wants to warn others about fentanyl after learning her best friend was one of the two men found dead in a car on College Avenue this week.

Friends and family have identified 1 of 2 men found dead in a car this week as 35-year-old Corey Berens

Details emerge about man found dead in car

CBC News Manitoba

5 years ago
1:21
Friends and family have identified 1 of 2 men found dead in a car this week as 35-year-old Corey Berens. 1:21

A Selkirk woman battling an addiction to opiates is warning others about the dangers of fentanyl after learning her best friend was one of the two men found dead in a car on College Avenue this week.

Friends and family have identified one of the men as 35-year-old Corey Berens from Lockport.

"I'm still in shock. Like, it doesn't seem real to me," said Reena Leclerc, 26, who's currently taking part in a drug treatment program in Winnipeg with the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba.

Family and friends have identified one of the two men found dead in a car on Monday as Corey Berens. Police say the men likely died of a drug overdose. (CBC)
Leclerc, who's known Berens for 9 years, wants him to be remembered as a kind man who was always there for his friends. 

"He's my sugar bear. I nicknamed him that — every time I see him, I'd call him sugar bear," Leclerc said.

"He's always been so kind, gentle and just a really good friend," she said.

"Every time I was feeling down, he'd come pick me up and we'd hang out. I miss him already."

Winnipeg police said the bodies of a 35-year-old man and a 27-year-old man had been in the car for days before they were discovered on Monday morning.

Family in shock

Berens' sister Lindsay Berens said her family is struggling with the news of his death.

"I loved him. Corey was so loved by everybody; everybody is just heartbroken," Berens said in an email to the CBC.

Autopsy and toxicology reports are still being done to determine the cause of death, but police are looking into the possibility of a connection to fentanyl or carfentanil.

Police also seized drugs and drug paraphernalia from the vehicle.

Leclerc said she doesn't know what Berens might have been using the day he died, but she she hopes it wasn't fentanyl.

Corey Berens, 35, in an undated photo, died from a suspected drug overdose. His body was found with another man's body in a vehicle on College Avenue on Monday. (Facebook)
"This fent thing is scary," she said.

Leclerc said she has smoked fentanyl powder with Berens in the past.

"It's pretty scary, that stuff, and it's like you never know what you're getting. I was addicted to fentanyl patches before, but at least with that, you know what you're getting, but this new powder stuff is just scary."

Leclerc said she believes Berens was addicted to opiates like her, and she wishes he'd sought help before it was too late.

"He was one of the good ones. I can't believe he's gone," she said.

Reena Leclerc, 26, says she's devastated after learning her friend Corey Berens was found dead in a vehicle with another man on Monday. Police seized drugs from the car and believe the two deaths are drug-related.
Leclerc said she's only been clean for one week, but she's optimistic about her future.

She said she has been addicted to opiates for nine years and decided to quit just last year. 

"It just hit me when I turned 25, I've had enough of it. I just had enough of that lifestyle," she said.

"My family is trying to be supportive. We went to AFM in Selkirk and I got referred to this methadone program, so I'm hopeful.

"I just hope that everybody really looks at this fentanyl, because it's so dangerous," Leclerc said.

"I don't want to lose any more friends." 

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