Family mourns Tootinaozibeeng woman after remains found in rural Manitoba

More than three years after a First Nations woman from Tootinaozibeeng Treaty Reserve in northwestern Manitoba went missing, RCMP Major Crimes confirmed they recovered the remains of Melinda Lynxleg.

RCMP in Roblin, Man., a town about 330 km northwest of Winnipeg, issued a news release Tuesday saying new information had come to light in the woman’s disappearance. That information led investigators to an abandoned property in San Clara, approximately 45 km northeast of Roblin, near the Saskatchewan border.

The RCMP Search and Rescue Team, Major Crime Services investigators, the Forensic Identification Section, Roblin RCMP officers, and a forensic anthropologist worked in the area following up on the new information.

At an RCMP news conference Friday, Major Crimes Investigator Laura LeDrew said they will not give up on finding who was responsible. A part of the investigation since Lynxleg went missing, LeDrew did not reveal what exactly led investigators to the property to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation.

“We did hear information from community members, we heard a couple stories, people came forward which led us to the property where we ended up finding her eventually.”

The mother of Melinda Lynxleg posted this confirmation of her daughter’s discovery on Facebook Friday.

The woman’s aunt, Betty Lynxleg, said that the family has some closure now that they can bring Melinda home, but they want justice. She feels the RCMP will get that for the family, and there will also be Anishinaabe justice.

“We believe that justice will be served. In the Anishinaabe way, we have our own traditional law…when you hurt someone, you harm someone, that there’ll be repercussions, there’ll be consequences,” Lynxleg said.

“How they’ve slept at night, I don’t know how they do these things, whoever is responsible for this, how do they live their life every day, when they’ve taken not only Melinda’s life, but they’ve broken our family.”

Lynxleg, who was 40 at the time of her disappearance, was a single mother of six children. She also had a large extended family.

Media reports from 2020 said Lynxleg was last seen walking down a gravel road near the community’s COVID-19 blockade, but she never logged in.

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