Manitoba

Parents of 'good kid' killed in Gimli plead for rumours about homicide to end

The parents of a young man stabbed to death in the centre of a normally quiet Manitoba beach town are reeling from the loss and want rumours swirling about the killing to stop.

18-year-old stabbed to death Wednesday afternoon

Leah Engbaek said news of her son Evan's death, along with rumours, quickly began to spread on Facebook. (Cliff Simpson/CBC)

The parents of a young man stabbed to death in the centre of a normally quiet Manitoba beach town are reeling from the loss and want rumours swirling about the killing to stop.

Evan Engbaek died just steps away from the Town of Gimli's main drag Tuesday afternoon. He was 18.

"We're just dead inside right now," his mother Leah Engbaek told CBC, fighting back tears.​
Evan Engbaek died just a few feet away from the Town of Gimli’s main drag Tuesday. He was 18. (Submitted by Leah Engbaek)

"He was just a kid."

Minutes after his fatal stabbing, word started to spread with Evan's name on Facebook, well before many family members were informed, Leah said.

"My parents didn't even know yet," she said. "It's just been an unbelievable, classless, disrespectful, horrible experience and I don't wish this on anybody."

Leah said police have told her little about her son's homicide and she is begging people talking about the death to stop spreading rumours.

"Stop. Just stop. If you have any heart at all, I'm asking them to stop."

"He's not a bad boy," added Evan's father Peder Engbaek, who saw his son's body for the first time Wednesday evening at a funeral home after returning from work in Gillam, Man.

Not everybody is the A+ golden child, but in me and his father's eyes he was a good kid.- Leah Engbaek

Manitoba RCMP have said little about the case but confirmed Wednesday a suspect had been taken into custody.

Police said no charges have been laid and have not released the suspect's age. Forensic investigators and detectives worked for several hours Tuesday at the spot where passersby and paramedics tried to help Evan before he died.

A large tarp could be seen on the ground along with several evidence markers as detectives probed what happened.

Victim was trying to kick addiction

Leah said Evan returned to Gimli three weeks ago from Winnipeg where he was living in a sober house as part of an effort to clean up his life and kick addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Peder Engbaek was in Gillam, Man. working when he found out about his son's death. (Cliff Simpson/CBC)

"A month ago I had said to Evan, 'please don't make me bury you,' and he said, 'mom you won't have to bury me,' and then he called and he said, 'mom I'm done,' and he was clean, so I brought him home."

She said while he had problems he was dealing with, he didn't deserve to die.

"Not everybody is the A+ golden child, but in me and his father's eyes he was a good kid."

'Things like this don't happen in Gimli'

She said she'd like Evan to be remembered as a fun and loving kid who always had a laugh or hug for someone when they needed it.

"He was a kind soul."

Gimli Mayor Randy Woroniuk said the stabbing sent shockwaves throughout the town, but it was starting to return to normal Wednesday night.

The stabbing happened on the eve of the popular Gimli Film Festival and just steps away from the town's theatre.

"Things like this don't happen in Gimli," the mayor said. "This is a very quiet community."

An evidence marker sits beneath a bike on the pavement in Gimli. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

More from CBC Manitoba:

Parents of 'good kid' killed in Gimli plead for rumours about homicide to end

5 years ago
Duration 1:48
The parents of a young man stabbed to death in the centre of a normally quiet Manitoba beach town are reeling from the loss and want rumours swirling about the killing to stop.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

​Austin Grabish is a reporter for CBC News in Winnipeg. Since joining CBC in 2016, he's covered several major stories. Some of his career highlights have been documenting the plight of asylum seekers leaving America in the dead of winter for Canada and the 2019 manhunt for two teenage murder suspects. In 2021, he won an RTDNA Canada award for his investigative reporting on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which triggered change. Have a story idea? Email: austin.grabish@cbc.ca

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