Manitoba

3 First Nations women, 1 unidentified woman were victims of alleged serial killer: Winnipeg police

Winnipeg police say the man accused of killing a 24-year-old woman and disposing of her body in a dumpster in May has now been charged with three more homicides.

Man accused of killing Rebecca Contois, 24, also killed 3 others, police believe

Winnipeg man charged with killing 3 Indigenous women

2 months ago
Duration 5:25
WARNING: This story contains distressing details. Winnipeg police believe a man who was charged with murder last spring is also responsible for killing three other women. Jeremy Skibicki is now charged with killing Morgan Beatrice Harris, Marcedes Myran, Rebecca Contois — all of whom were Indigenous — and a fourth woman who has yet to be identified.

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

Winnipeg police say the man accused of killing a 24-year-old First Nations woman and disposing of her body in a dumpster in May has been charged with three more homicides.

Jeremy Skibicki, 35, was charged Thursday with three more counts of first-degree murder after more victims were identified, police said at a Thursday afternoon news conference.

Skibicki was initially arrested on May 18 and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Rebecca Contois, who was a member of O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation, also known as Crane River, located on the western shore of Lake Manitoba.

Investigators now believe Skibicki was also responsible for the deaths of two other First Nations women and another woman who hasn't yet been identified, between March and May 2022, said police Chief Danny Smyth.

"It's always unsettling when there's any kind of a serial killing," but these homicides are particularly unsettling "because it does involve Indigenous women," he said at Thursday's news conference.

Two uniformed police officers stand at a podium with photos of a jacket in the background.
Insp. Shawn Pike, left, of the Winnipeg Police Service's major crimes division addressed the media on Thursday alongside police Chief Danny Smyth. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

Police say Morgan Beatrice Harris, 39, was killed on or around May 1, while Marcedes Myran, 26, was killed on or around May 4.

Both women were members of Long Plain First Nation, in south central Manitoba, but were living in Winnipeg.

Skibicki is also charged with the homicide of a fourth woman, but her identity hasn't been confirmed.

Insp. Shawn Pike of the major crimes division said she is believed to have been an Indigenous woman in her mid-20s. It's believed she was killed on or around March 15.

Police are asking the public for help identifying the victim, who wore a reversible Baby Phat brand jacket with a fur hood.

A series of four photographs shows a jacket. Two photos on the top show the front and back of a black jacket, with a hood lined with grey fur. Two photos on the bottom show the jacket reversed, with black-and-white horizontal stripes.
Police are asking the public to help identify one of the homicide victims, who wore a Baby Phat reversible jacket with a fur hood like this one. She's believed to have been an Indigenous woman in her mid-20s, police say. (Submitted by Winnipeg Police Service)

The bodies of those three women haven't been recovered, but Smyth says police have enough evidence to charge Skibicki in their killings. Pike added that DNA helped in their investigation, but wouldn't go into specifics.

Rebecca Contois's partial remains were discovered in a garbage bin in a back lane in Winnipeg's North Kildonan neighbourhood on May 16.

Police believed some of her remains may have been taken to the city's Brady Road landfill during a residential pickup, and conducted a search that involved a massive area at the landfill.

WATCH | Police ask for public's help to identify homicide victim:

Police plead for help identifying victim

2 months ago
Duration 2:19
Winnipeg police Insp. Shawn Pike on Thursday asked the public for help identifying an unknown woman who's believed to be the first of four victims of alleged serial killer Jeremy Skibicki. The three identified women allegedly killed by Skibicki are Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran.

In June, remains found there by Winnipeg police were identified as those of Contois.

After Skibicki was arrested and charged in May, police said they believed there could be more victims, but up until Thursday, they had not identified any others.

Smyth said that police don't believe at this time that there are additional victims.

Far-right rhetoric on social media

Police wouldn't speak to a possible motive in the crimes Skibicki is accused of. Smyth also wouldn't say whether police believe Indigenous women were targeted.

Earlier this year, CBC reviewed posts on a Facebook page linked to Skibicki, dated before his May arrest, which was rife with violent sentiments, as well as antisemitic, misogynistic and white supremacist material.

In his Facebook bio, Skibicki described himself as an "official member of 'Holy Europe,'" which is a small faction of a broader far-right movement, an anti-facism expert told CBC last June.

mugshot of bearded man
Jeremy Skibicki is now facing four first-degree murder charges in connection with the deaths of four women, including Rebecca Contois, Morgan Beatrice Harris and Marcedes Myran. (Jeremy Skibicki/Facebook)

Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham, who also spoke at Thursday's news conference, offered his condolences to the families impacted, and issued a call to action.

"These women were members of our community. They're someone's daughter, someone's sister, someone's mother, someone's friend," Gillingham said.

"And as a city, we must all grieve their loss and recognize that we have much more work to do … to protect the lives of Indigenous women and girls."

Police are asking anyone with information about this investigation, specifically about the victim's jacket, to contact the homicide unit at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477 (TIPS).

WATCH | Full Dec. 1, 2022, Winnipeg police news conference:

Winnipeg police update on new charges against Jeremy Skibicki

2 months ago
Duration 29:05
Winnipeg police chief Danny Smyth and Mayor Scott Gillingham provide an update on more victims identified in connection to Jeremy Skibicki, who is charged with the killing of Rebecca Contois.

Support is available for anyone affected by details of this case. If you require support, you can contact Ka Ni Kanichihk's Medicine Bear Counselling, Support and Elder Services at 204-594-6500, ext. 102 or 104, (within Winnipeg) or 1-888-953-5264 (outside Winnipeg).

Support is also available via Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak's Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Liaison unit at 1-800-442-0488 or 204-677-1648.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Bergen is a journalist for CBC Manitoba and previously reported for CBC Saskatoon. Email story ideas to rachel.bergen@cbc.ca.

With files from Cameron MacIntosh and Austin Grabish

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