North

Mariella Lennie homicide still unsolved after more than 20 years

More than 20 years after the body of a 17-year-old girl was found floating by a dock near Yellowknife's Con Mine, her homicide remains unsolved.

17-year-old was found dead in Yellowknife in 1992

Mariella Lennie, 17, of Tulita, N.W.T., was last seen alive Oct. 6, 1991 outside the Discovery Inn in Yellowknife. Her body was found the following spring, floating by a dock near Con Mine. Her murder has never been solved. (submitted)

More than 20 years after the body was found floating by a dock near Yellowknife's Con Mine, her homicide remains unsolved.

Mariella Lennie was 17 years old. She was last seen alive outside the Discovery Inn in downtown Yellowknife on Oct. 6, 1991. Lennie was from Tulita, N.W.T., and had moved to the city one month before to attend high school. She was staying with relatives.

"We thought it was the best idea so I sent her to Yellowknife to get her education," said Wilfred Lennie, Mariella's father.

"But things didn't turn out, I guess."

Was she shot? Was she stabbed? I don't know.- Wilfred Lennie, Mariella's father

Twelve days passed before she was reported missing.

Her body was found the following spring, on May 8, 1992, floating in Great Slave Lake near Con Mine.

Case not cold

Lennie is one of the missing or murdered aboriginal women in the Northwest Territories whose cases have not been solved. 

Yellowknife RCMP Sgt. Eric Lane said the police ruled Lennie's death a homicide immediately. Lane said they have accumulated a large amount of information on the case.

"At this point in time, it's enormous," he said. "It's gone through several lead investigators who have continued to push it along. It has never really gone cold. Information keeps coming in on that file."

Lane said the RCMP does not have enough information to lay a charge.

Wilfred Lennie is critical of the way RCMP have handled the case. He said the police have even refused to tell the family how Mariella died.

Cause of death kept from family

"They just told me she was murdered," he said. "So I don't know. Maybe they're keeping it a secret. Maybe they don't want people to know about it.

"Was she shot? Was she stabbed? I don't know."

RCMP told CBC News that investigators are in contact with the family monthly. Lennie said that's not the case.

He said he was contacted by police earlier this week after CBC News requested information on the case. He said he called the RCMP a few months ago, but they wouldn't tell him anything. Before that, he said he hadn't heard from them in several years.

"It's a painful thing. You don't understand. Do they have a suspect or things like that? I don't know."

Lennie said he hopes renewed media attention on the case will encourage witnesses to come forward.

RCMP ask anyone with information to contact their local detachment or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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