Saskatchewan

'Are you trying to torment us?': Fake account messages mother with dead son's identity

When Lisa Johnstone received a friend request late Monday night she was shocked to see her dead son's name and picture. Brennan Ahenakew's remains were found burned in his car on May 10. Since then, someone created a Facebook account under Ahenakew's identity and started messaging his family.

Brennan Ahenakew’s remains found in smoldering car on Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation in May

Lisa Johnstone said the fake Facebook account used a picture from Brennan Ahenakew's graduation. (Ahenakew family/GoFundMe)

When Lisa Johnstone received a friend request late Monday night she was shocked to see her dead son's name and picture.

Brennan Ahenakew's remains were found burned in his car on May 10. Since then, someone created a Facebook account under Ahenakew's identity and started messaging his family.

"I started messaging and I said, who is this, why are you doing this, are you trying to torment us?" Johnstone said.

RCMP do not believe foul play was involved in Ahenakew's death but Johnstone disagrees.

She thinks the fake account was made by someone that knows what happened to her son that night.

"They're thinking they got away with this because my son's death isn't being labelled a homicide, it's being labelled suspicious," Johnstone said. Johnstone told CBC News the RCMP told her the death was being investigated as suspicious.

Johnstone received messages from the fake account, as did her daughter, husband, and brother.

The account messaged Johnstone's brother and said, "Hey uncle," leading her to believe that the person behind the account is familiar with her family.

"What sick person would use my son's picture and name and send a message, when we know my son's gone?"

RCMP Cpl. Rob King said they are investigating the fake account.

"Any type of threats, those things that are put online, we take those things very seriously," King said.

Car not inspected

Ahenakew was reported missing from Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation on May 10 at 5 p.m. That same day, officers located his remains in a burned-out vehicle in the area.

Shellbrook RCMP said it first received complaints of a burning car that morning but when an officer went to the location, the fire was still going and the inside of the car was not inspected. RCMP said the car was too hot to approach.

"The way I feel right now is that my son's case is being mishandled right from the beginning," Johnstone said. "Right from them not looking in his car."

From left to right: Ahenakew's father Jared, Ahenakew, his younger brother Elijah and mother Lisa. (Submitted by Lisa Johnstone)

She's been to the site of the fire numerous times since then, and she said she's found bones that the RCMP missed.

"How much trust are you supposed to put into those people to do their job when they couldn't even collect my son, all of him?"

She also found his necklace, the ignition key, and his glasses case. She also said she's getting her son's car back in order to get a second opinion.

'No justice for us'

Johnstone said RCMP interviewed people who were with her son that night but not until four days after his death.

"They were given four days for all of them to get their story straight," she said. "They were given four days to collect and discard any evidence that may have been in the house."

Cpl. King said the RCMP have been in "constant contact" with the family.

"The family has relayed rumours and other things they've heard in the community and all of those things have been investigated to date," he said.

They're thinking they got away with this because my son's death isn't being labelled a homicide.- Lisa Johnstone, mother of Brennan Ahenakew

But Johnstone isn't satisfied.

"I'm relying on the justice system to do its job and right now they're not doing anything to protect my family, to look into this investigation properly," Johnstone said.

"There's no justice for us. Honestly, as a Native American living on a reservation right now, that's how I feel, like we're just being left aside."

With files from Alex Soloducha