Saskatchewan

Regina police seek new leads in 1993 death

Regina police say they have not closed their investigation into the death of a young woman who was found on a frozen creek and succumbed to hypothermia nearly 15 years ago.
Regina police released this picture of 18-year-old Sharon Frances Merasty, who froze to death in 1993, seeking more information on the case. ((Regina Police Service))
Regina police say they have not closed their investigation into the death of a young woman who was found on a frozen creek and succumbed to hypothermia nearly 15 years ago.

Frances Merasty, 18, was found lying on the icy surface of Regina's Wascana Creek by two snowmobilers on Dec. 4, 1993.

Paramedics and hospital emergency room physicians worked to revive her lifeless body and after more than three hours of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation were able to get a heart beat. But it stopped, and Merasty died.

A police investigation determined the teen had been drinking heavily at a house party in Regina's north central neighbourhood and was last seen at about 3:30 a.m.

How she wound up on the creek, at the edge of Regina's city limits about five kilometres from the house, has remained a mystery to police.

Police noted she was not dressed for the cold, clad only in jeans, a tee-shirt and a flannel jacket. One of her shoes was off and found nearby.

Sharon Merasty told CBC News she believes her daughter may have been the victim of foul play.

"I think someone took her over there and threw her away, left her there to die," Merasty said.

Frances Merasty died even though hospital staff managed to get her heart beating after she was found on a December night in 1993. ((CBC))
 On Wednesday Regina police issued a public plea for information on the case.

Elizabeth Popowich, spokesperson for the police, said the 18 hours between Merasty's last sighting and the time she was found is a key part of their investigation.

"There's still that period of time where we don't know if anybody saw her, or spoke to her, or had contact with her. And maybe the reason we don't know is that nobody had contact with her in that time.  But we're trying to find out," Popowich told CBC News.

"It would be reassuring to be able to provide some answers so we can with certainty say exactly how and why Frances Merasty came to be in northwest Regina, by herself, out in the cold."

Police said an autopsy found no evidence of physical violence and that Merasty died of hypothermia from exposure to the cold.