Thelma Krull's remains found in wooded area outside Winnipeg

Thelma Krull's remains have been found southeast of Winnipeg, confirming officers' belief the missing woman was the victim of homicide, police say.

After 3 years, 'the mourning process has begun all over again,' friend says

Thelma Krull, 57, seen here in an undated photo, went missing July 11, 2015, after she went for a walk in the Valley Gardens area of Winnipeg. A hunter found her remains on Oct. 27, and DNA testing confirmed her identity. (Submitted)

Thelma Krull's remains have been found southeast of Winnipeg more than three years after she disappeared, confirming officers' belief she was the victim of homicide, police say.

The remains were found by a hunter on Oct. 27 in a wooded area near Chemin Perrin Road, east of Highway 12 and north of Highway 1, in the rural municipality of Taché​, southeast of Winnipeg.

DNA testing confirmed the remains were Krull's, police said Thursday.

Krull, a 57-year-old Winnipeg grandmother, disappeared on July 11, 2015. She left her home in the Grassie Boulevard area at about 7:23 a.m. that day to go for a walk, part of her training to hike the West Coast Trail in British Columbia.

Sgt. Wes Rommel of the Winnipeg police homicide unit wouldn't comment when asked Thursday if police know how Krull was killed, but did say he believes she was killed by one person, and investigators have no reason to believe she knew that person.

The spot where Krull's remains were found — roughly 50 kilometres southeast of where she was last seen in Winnipeg — is likely a familiar part of the province for her killer, said Rommel.

"One of the things that we wanted to get out to you today is that location. … It's something that we want the public to cue on," said Rommel, who wouldn't say whether Krull's remains were found on private or public land. 

"As you drive out, it's a lot of prairies with nothing around, and all of a sudden you get to these areas where it becomes wooded and more desolate. I think that's a very significant piece." 

Watch Sgt. Wes Rommel discuss the importance of where Krull's remains were found:

Winnipeg police Sgt. Wes Rommel said they believe the person who killed Thelma Krull was familiar with the wooded area in the RM of Tache where her remains were found. 0:49

Robert Krull, Thelma's husband, spoke with CBC News but did not want to be interviewed. He said the family is asking for privacy while they make arrangements.

He said he hopes finding her remains will lead to answers and justice.

Susan Dell, a friend and former co-worker of Thelma Krull, said the news left her in shock.

"Finding Thelma has brought closure, but the mourning process has begun all over again," Dell said in a written statement Thursday.

"I hope this leads to the arrest and conviction of her killer and we find out what happened to Thelma. This case has touched a lot of people who didn't even know Thelma."

Police believe after Krull left her home that Saturday morning, she walked as far as Civic Park near Kildonan East Collegiate at about 8 a.m., where she was involved in an altercation and was forcibly taken away.

Investigators think Krull was taken into a nearby residence, building or vehicle.

Police believe the killer was familiar with that area of Winnipeg — the person might live or work there, or had some other reason to be there.

Winnipeg police have previously released map of areas in and around Civic Park where Thelma Krull was last seen (Winnipeg Police Service)

At a 2016 news conference police said they had received a tip about a possible sighting of Krull, who appeared in distress, with a man near a gas station near Kimberly Avenue and Gateway Road on the morning of her disappearance.

At the time they released a sketch of the man, described as five feet, eight inches and 270 pounds with a bowl haircut.

On Thursday Rommel said the suspect remains "an important piece of the investigation" but police are now considering "outside possibilities." They ask anyone who lived in the Valley Gardens area in July 2015 to reach out to investigators with any information they might have.

"We want to keep an open mind," he said.

"Yes that is an individual that is still important to the investigation … but we're also wanting the public to be aware that if you have suspicions about other individuals or other information, we want to hear about that as well."

In 2016, homicide investigators released this sketch of a suspect in Krull's disappearance. On Thursday Rommel said this person remains 'an important piece of the investigation' but police are considering 'outside possibilities.' (Winnipeg Police Service)

Police also ask those who live around the area where Krull's remains were found to contact them about anything suspicious they might recall from the summer of 2015, or any other information that could assist investigators.

The police homicide unit continues to investigate.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).

DNA testing has confirmed the remains of Thelma Krull were found southeast of Winnipeg more than three years after she disappeared. 1:54

With files from Alana Cole