Grieving Inukjuak father skeptical no one in village of 1,800 has information on daughter's homicide

Sureté du Québec officers have visited the Inuit village of Inukjuak three times since local police found the body of 14-year-old Bethany Nastapoka Epoo. Her death was immediately described a homicide, but no arrests have been made.

No arrest 2 months after 14-year-old Bethany Nastapoka Epoo found dead

Bethany Nastapoka Epoo, a 14-year-old girl from Inukjuak, Que. whose body was found July 22, less than 250 metres from her home. (courtesy of Maina Nastakpoka)

The father of a 14-year-old girl found dead two months ago less than 250 metres from her home in the northern Quebec village of Inukjuak is asking anyone with information about her death to come forward.

"I find it hard to believe that in such a small village that someone does not know who is responsible for the death of my daughter," Jobie Epoo said in a telephone interview with CBC.

Epoo, a former captain with the Kativik Regional Police Force, said if people are being threatened to stay quiet, they should not be afraid.

"You have to tell the police if you know any information, and they can quickly arrange protection until an arrest is made."

Sûreté du Québec investigators described the death as a homicide from the beginning and have visited the community three times since July 22, when Nastapoka Epoo's body was discovered between her home and the local adult education centre. 

Existence of surveillance video confirmed

The SQ remains tight-lipped about the investigation, but confirmed the existence of a video that has been shown to people in the community.

Bethany Nastapoka Epoo's father, Jobie Epoo, believes someone in the village may have information and is just too scared to go to police. (courtesy of Maina Nastapoka)
Epoo said it's surveillance footage from the adult education center that shows his daughter alive, walking in the direction of her home, at 4 a.m. the day she died.

He said someone else seen earlier on the video appears to be rushing in the same direction one minute after Bethany falls out of view.

Epoo said her body was found about a three-minute walk outside the range of the surveillance camera.

"It's the worst thing that can happen," said Epoo. "It's one thing to lose a daughter, but death in that way is even worse. It is really, really bad and hard to accept."

Epoo said since there have not been any arrests, people are looking over their shoulders, locking their doors and no longer staying out late.

He is also asking young people to avoid going out alone, and to keep their headphones in their pockets so they're aware of their surroundings.

'She meant everything to us'

Jobie Epoo and his wife Maina Nastakpoka welcomed Bethany into their lives through a traditional adoption, when they couldn't have children of their own.
Jobie Epoo and Maina Nastapoka during happier times in a family photo with sons Jobie Frazer Nastapoka Epoo and Qalingo Richard Epoo before the death of Bethany (center.) (courtesy of Jobie Epoo)

"She meant everything to us," he said. "We were very close for years and years." Epoo said. He also said she was growing up quickly, and sometimes stayed out late or overnight at a friend's home.

Epoo remembered his wife saying their daughter "would be home soon" after Bethany failed to turn up to a nephew's birthday party on July 22.

Epoo began to worry around supper time, after some of her friends started to call looking for her. Then he saw the  flashing lights of police cruisers from the window of his home.

"I went to see the police officers guarding the scene, and from there, it started to be quite possible that it could be my daughter."

Epoo and his family had to wait until the following day for Sureté du Québec officers to arrive to confirm his daughter was the victim of a homicide.

"It was the most horrible thing that can happen to any family, and it happened to us this time around," he said.