Saskatchewan

RCMP search for Battleford-area hit and run suspect after 'needle in a haystack' investigation

RCMP say had officers not done a thorough ground search after a man was hit by a vehicle and left alone to die in the middle of a highway near the Town of Battleford, they may never have been able to lay charges.

Accused August Devin Nahbexie has not yet been arrested

Police have charged August Devin Nahbexie from Mosquito First Nation for failing to remain at the scene of an accident causing death. (Submitted by RCMP)

RCMP say had officers not done a thorough ground search after a man was hit by a vehicle and left alone to die in the middle of a highway near the Town of Battleford, they may never have been able to lay charges.

Sgt. Jason Teniuk was one of the RCMP officers called to Highway 4, about one kilometre south of Battleford, the morning of July 25, 2018.

A passerby driving on the road had found the body of Merle Curley, a man from Mosquito First Nation. Curley was already dead.

"That, honestly, to this day still bothers me. And this fellow did not deserve this fate. Not that anybody ever does but he was really not involved in anything here," Teniuk said.

Besides the body, officers had nothing to go off of.

Then, a break in the case.

Investigators had been looking down the highway for anything that may have fallen off the vehicle that killed Curley when they found a piece of evidence.

Without the thorough ground search, "we would be looking for a needle in the haystack. And to be perfectly honest with you we were still looking for a needle in the haystack," Teniuk said.

Teniuk said he can't say what the evidence was because the case is now going before the courts.

He said the evidence — along with tips from the public — were instrumental in laying charges of failure to stop at the scene of a fatal accident, failing to comply with court conditions and a probation order and obstruction against 22-year-old August Devin Nahbexie.

So far, Nahbexie has evaded collective efforts by the RCMP and Crimestoppers to track him down. Now they are putting out a call to the public in case they've seen him.

The RCMP suspects Nahbexie is in the Battlefords area, either on his home reserve of Saulteaux First Nation or on the surrounding First Nation or communities.

Anyone with information on where Nahbexie is, can contact the Battlefords RCMP at 306-446-1720 or call Crimestoppers.