Yukon's unusually violent year: 8 homicides in 12 months

Yukon has seen an unusually high number of murders in the past year. CBC looks back at eight cases over the last 12 months.

RCMP are receiving extra help from B.C. and Alberta to investigate multiple cases

People mourning in Whitehorse during a community march in April. There have been eight homicides in Yukon in the last 12 months. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Yukon has seen eight homicides in the last 12 months — an unusually high level of violence for the territory. 

Yukon RCMP Supt. Brian Jones said police have had to call in outside help from RCMP in British Columbia and Alberta to investigate multiple cases. 

"Our major crimes unit is working beyond capacity on all of those," Jones told CBC after the most recent homicide.

"It has been an all hands on deck situation for the Major Crimes Unit for a long time."

Of the eight cases, four have led to arrests; none have made their way through the courts yet.

Level of violence unusual

Statistics Canada records homicides by calendar year, going back to 1961. 

An overwhelming majority of those years have seen three murders, or fewer, in Yukon.

Twelve of those years saw no murders at all, including 2011, 2012 and 2013. There were three homicides in 2014 and one in 2015.

Only in one previous calendar year, 2004, was there an unusually high number of homicides — seven — in Yukon.

"The number of homicides in the territory, and these recent deaths in Whitehorse, would be unsettling," said Supt. Jones.

"We understand that. Unfortunately at this point in time, we don't have all the answers that the public is looking for and equally importantly, the questions that the families [have]."

Here is a look at the eight cases over the last 12 months. 

Adam Cormack

Police tape blocks a gravel road alongside the Alaska Highway outside Whitehorse. The body of 25-year-old Adam Cormack was found there on June 28. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

June 28, 2017
Alaska Highway northwest of Whitehorse
Status: Arrest made

The body of 25-year-old Adam Cormack was found on the Alaska Highway northwest of Whitehorse on Wednesday June 28.

"The incident was quickly deemed a homicide," stated an RCMP press release. 

On July 3, Yukon RCMP said they had charged a B.C. man, 20-year-old Edward James Penner, with first degree murder.

Wendy Carlick and Sarah MacIntosh

Sarah McIntosh and Wendy Carlick were identified by Whitehorse RCMP as victims of homicide in April 2017. (KDFN newsletter/CBC)

April 19, 2017
Status: No charges laid

Two Indigenous women were found dead in the same house in Whitehorse's McIntyre subdivision on April 19. 

Wendy Margaret Carlick, 51, and Sarah MacIntosh, 53, were mourned in a community march that gathered hundreds of people.

The case was especially painful as Carlick's daughter Angel had been killed by violence in Whitehorse 10 years earlier. 

Greg Alvin Dawson died in Whitehorse in April 2017. (Ta'an Kwach'an Council)

Greg Alvin Dawson

April 6, 2017
Status: No charges laid

Greg Alvin Dawson, 45, was found dead on April 6 in the Riverdale neighbourhood of Whitehorse. Police say they're treating his death as a homicide. 

Dawson was a member of the Ta'an Kwäch'än Council. 

Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis said he knew Dawson for 35 years.

"I know that in our community... the degrees of separation are so small, it's absolutely almost frightening," Curtis told CBC in April.

An arrest has been made in the death of 18-year-old Raine Andrew Silas in Pelly Crossing, Yukon. (Facebook/Charlene Baker)

Raine Andrew Silas

​Nov. 4, 2016 
Pelly Crossing
Status: Arrest made

Eighteen-year-old Raine Andrew Silas was killed in Pelly Crossing in November.

Tristan Joe, 30, of Pelly Crossing has been charged with second-degree murder. No other details have been revealed, as the case has yet to be heard before the courts.

Matthew Devellano, 32, was shot on a suburban street in Whitehorse. No arrest has been made. (Facebook)

Matthew Devellano

Oct. 8, 2016
Status: No charges laid

Matthew Devellano, 32, was shot in the chest in front of a house in the Porter Creek neighbourhood of Whitehorse in October. 

Witnesses described hearing sounds like firecrackers on the suburban cul-de-sac, before seeing a van speed away.

The van was recovered by RCMP, but no arrests have been made.

Olson Wolftail 

In the span of a year, two people were violently killed in Watson Lake. The town has fewer than 800 people. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Dec. 23, 2016
Watson Lake
Status: Arrest made

RCMP responded to a call of an assault in December 2016 and found 87-year-old Olson Wolftail dead inside his Watson Lake home.

Crown prosecutors in Yukon intend to pursue a first degree murder conviction against 31-year-old Alfred Thomas Chief.

Chief is in custody. 

Andy Giraudel's remains were identified through fingerprint and dental comparison. (Facebook)

Andy Giraudel 

July 16, 2016
Watson Lake 
Status: Arrest made   

Andy Giraudel, 36, was killed in Watson Lake in July 2016 and his body was dismembered. 

Police launched an extensive search of the community to recover his remains, some of which were found in an industrial area.

Within a week of the murder, Travis Dennis, 22, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and offering an indignity to human remains.