Family of man whose body was found headless says RCMP 'didn't do their job'

Glenn Kelly Waskewitch's body was found in a wooded area on the Onion Lake Cree Nation, but his head was not.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details

In August, a coroner ruled Glenn Kelly Waskewitch, 54, took his own life in a wooded area on the Onion Lake Cree Nation. (Submitted by Marjorie Waskewitch)

Glenn Kelly Waskewitch's body was found in a wooded area on the Onion Lake Cree Nation, but his head was not.

Search crews and RCMP officers found the body in August. The head is still missing.

A provincial coroner soon concluded the 54-year-old Cree man took his own life and that animals damaged his remains. The RCMP subsequently closed the case.

Waskewitch's family doesn't buy the official story.

"This is not usual for animals to do such things to humans," said Grant Whitstone, one of Waskewitch's cousins. "Somebody didn't do their job here."

Grant Whitstone said he and Glenn Waskewitch were like brothers. He stood next to 71-year-old Marjorie Waskewitch in Saskatoon today as they implored Saskatchewan's RCMP to re-open the investigation into her son's death. (CBC\Albert Couillard)

Family said evidence 'just didn't add up'

Described as outgoing and friendly, Waskewitch worked at various jobs on the reserve and taught students in the reserve's cultural programs.

His family said no one performed an autopsy, but an embalmer at the funeral home in nearby St. Walburg told family members his death did not appear to be a suicide, nor the work of animals.

"Where Mr. Waskewitch was found and how they said this was a suicide, but on the other hand, the things that were at the site just didn't add up," said Whitstone.

Glenn Waskewitch's skull is still missing

Onion Lake chief Henry Lewis said people from his reserve have spent the past two months searching for Waskewitch's skull.

To date, they have not found it.

"The investigation was short-changed, called off too quick," said Lewis. "On behalf of the family we are requesting an autopsy and a thorough investigation."

Lewis said he sympathizes with the family and said they need closure.

"The family is still in mourning," said Chief Henry Lewis, who said searchers are still out looking for Glenn Waskewitch's skull. "The investigation was called off too quick." (CBC\Albert Couillard)

"I feel the RCMP have not done their due diligence regarding the death of my son," said Marjorie Waskewitch, Glenn's mother. 

"There are many nights I'm not able to sleep," the 71-year-old woman said tearfully, at a news conference in Saskatoon. "When I do, the first thing I think about when I wake up is, will we get new information today?"

She said she and her family urged the RCMP at the detachment on their reserve to take a closer look at what happened and were promised answers within three weeks.

Waskewitch was tearful when those answers came, two months later.

"They told us that they closed the file and will be destroying the evidence," she said. 

Today in Regina, RCMP Corporal Rob King called the investigation "thorough," but said officers would review the case and could re-open it if new evidence comes forward.

"We'll look at the case again, try to make sure all the evidence was examined properly," said Corporal Rob King. "At this point we believe the investigation was thorough."

In an e-mail, justice officials said the decision not to perform an autopsy "was based on findings by the RCMP and the Saskatchewan Coroners Service during the investigation into Mr. Waskewitch's death."

"The Coroners Service is aware of the family's concerns and is currently reviewing their request," the e-mail continued. "The Chief Coroner will be speaking to the family in the near future."

Family members and band leaders say they are willing to exhume Waskewitch's remains, if need be.

"The family would like to see full cooperation from the RCMP and re-open the case so at least they can get answers to some of the questions they have," Whitstone said.

Onion Lake Cree Nation is about 40 kilometres north of Lloydminster