Saskatoon

Suspect arrested in B.C., charged with 1st-degree murder in death of Megan Gallagher

Saskatoon police say a man has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Megan Gallagher.

Gallagher was last seen in Saskatoon on Sept. 19, 2020

Police say Megan Gallagher's remains have still not been found. She was last seen in Saskatoon on Sept. 19, 2020. (Brian Gallagher/Facebook)

A  man has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Megan Gallagher, Saskatoon police say.

Deputy Chief Randy Huisman said officers arrested the suspect, Robert "Bobby" James Thomas, 27, at a home in Prince George, B.C. on Tuesday morning.

He has been charged with first-degree murder and is being transported to Saskatoon. Police say he will appear in provincial court in Saskatoon later this week.

 Gallagher's body has not been found.

Deputy Chief Randy Huisman says Saskatoon police will be searching a stretch of the South Saskatchewan River that has been identified as an area of interest.  (Don Somers/ CBC)

"We will continue to do everything that we can to locate Meg and find those responsible for her death," Huisman told reporters.

He says the police will begin to search an area along the South Saskatchewan River that has been identified as an area of interest. 

Gallagher was last seen on Sept. 19, 2020, when she left a friend's home in Saskatoon's west end. Her family last saw her the day before that, when she was at their farm just outside of the city.

A police report was filed on Sept. 30.

Four people arrested in connection with her disappearance are already facing charges of indignity to human remains.

"We anticipate there will be additional charges as this investigation is far from over. We will continue to work to try to bring Megan home. That is our goal," major crimes Staff Sgt. Grant Obst said.

"Gallagher family has been — I can't think of a word. We've been involved in a number of homicide investigations but often there is no family involved. This will be the entire opposite. We've had a very respectful and cordial relationship with them. Without them I don't know where we would have been." 

Staff Sgt. Grant Obst says Saskatoon police will continue to work to try to bring Megan home. (Don Somers/ CBC)

Obst said Thomas is known to the police and has "a significant connection to Saskatoon despite the fact that the arrest was in B.C.," and might have some gang affiliations.

Obst didn't comment on Megan's past relationship with Thomas.

"There would be a loose relationship [between Thomas] to a number of them [suspects already arrested]," he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Saskatoon police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

"The pain inflicted is hard to describe"

Speaking to the media, Megan's father, Brian Gallagher, said words cannot describe the family's emotions following news of the arrest.

"The reality of all this is it would never bring Megan home," he said." We will never hug Megan again, we will never laugh with Megan again. We will never see her pretty smile again. And, as she promised me on Father's Day, we will never play catch again."

Gallagher's parents, Debbie and Brian, along with her sister Lindsey Bishop speak with reporters on Tuesday. Brian Gallagher says the silence around his daughter's disappearance is killing them. (Don Somers/ CBC)

He said while he does not like to go into a rabbit hole he can't stop thinking about the reasons people kill.

"Megan was a very special soul," he said. "Five people have been arrested in the past two years, but how do you live with a secret. The pain that it has inflicted upon many of us is hard to describe.

"This just has to stop. The silence is killing us, literally and figuratively and it's just a reality.

"Breaking the silence works. The events that we have helped is one of the major reason for the tips coming in and people being arrested. Breaking the silence builds community."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pratyush Dayal covers climate change, immigration and race and gender issues among general news for CBC News in Saskatchewan. He has previously written for the Globe and Mail, the Vancouver Sun, and the Tyee. He holds a master's degree in journalism from UBC and can be reached at pratyush.dayal@cbc.ca

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