Sheree Fertuck's sisters hope answers are revealed at murder trial, nearly 6 years after her death
Woman's body never found; estranged husband confessed to undercover police
This case is the focus of the CBC investigative podcast The Pit. Listen and subscribe to the podcast at cbc.ca/thepit.
It's been nearly six years since Sheree Fertuck vanished.
The rural Saskatchewan woman was 51 years old — a tall grandmother with short hair and glasses — when she was last seen. People knew her as a "strong lady" who enjoyed working in the local gravel pit. Her semi-truck was found abandoned there, near Kenaston, Sask., on Dec. 7, 2015, along with her keys, cellphone and jacket.
Her family doesn't know the full story of what happened, but they'll soon get a chance to learn more. Evidence will be revealed and theories unravelled at Greg Fertuck's first-degree murder trial, which is set to start on Tuesday in the Court of Queen's Bench in Saskatoon.
The trial of Sheree's estranged husband was supposed to begin in March, but it was delayed at the last minute because of COVID-19 concerns.
"Here we are six years into it, and we're hopefully going to go to trial now," said Teaka White, one of Sheree's sisters. "There's a lot of people that want a lot of answers."
The trial, scheduled to last two months, will be heard by a judge alone — not a jury.
Targeted in sting operation, accused says
Greg Fertuck has been in jail since he was arrested in 2019. He confessed to police that he killed Sheree and got rid of her body, which has never been found, but said he didn't know they were police officers. He, his family and his lawyer say he was targeted in a lengthy and controversial undercover sting known as a Mr. Big operation.
Under such an operation, police pretend to be criminals so they can form a relationship with a suspect and get a confession. After Greg was arrested, he told CBC News that he was innocent and had made up his confession because he feared for his life.
White and Sheree's other sister, Michelle Kish, said they don't buy his explanation. They believe justice will come in the form of a guilty verdict.
"She was a good person. Nobody ever deserves to die — be murdered," Kish said. "Whatever differences they had in their relationship or their marriage or whatever it was, she did not deserve any of this."
The sisters are curious to learn the ins and outs of the undercover police operation and more about what Greg allegedly said and did. Kish said the trial will be emotional as evidence comes to light, but she also thinks it will be a relief being able to piece together what happened to Sheree.
White said that even though the trial will answer some questions, there's one question in particular still weighing on everyone's minds: Where is Sheree?
"If Greg is convicted and sent to jail for the rest of his life, I guess justice will have been served, but if we never find her remains, I won't have complete closure, and I don't think anybody will," White said. "We still don't know where she is, so I'm hoping that by the end of it, we can maybe actually find her remains."
As the trial re-enters the public conversation, White asked rural Saskatchewan residents to keep their eyes open. She worries this might be the last chance to discover a clue that could lead to Sheree's remains.
"I know a lot of people have forgotten, but if you happen to be out in your fields, just be mindful. If you see something, report it," she said.
"With the trial coming up, it's going to bring a lot of memories back into people's minds. But once trial is done and over, people are going to continue to move on with their lives and it'll fade away."
Kish said that even as people move on, their family will never be able to escape the dark reality of their lost loved one.
"It will always be there. It's just unfortunate. It's a crappy part of our family history, and it will forever be."
With files from Alicia Bridges