The family of Zander Jackson, 16, say the police have told them little about what happened to the boy.
“We were told Zander was assaulted. His body sustained injury. As to what exactly caused his death, we do not know,” says his Grand-Aunt Carmel Crowchild.
On Oct. 2, RCMP responded to a call to Goodfish First Nation located 200 km northeast of Edmonton where they found Jacson deceased.
Crowchild told APTN News that Jackson was a good kid who loved his family but was getting involved with the wrong people.
“We had noticed that he had started to hang out with the ones that sell drugs on reserve. And there were rumours that he was selling drugs for them.”
On Dec. 11, RCMP charged Sean Steinhauer, 30 and Ryan Cardinal, 32, both listed as having no fixed address, with second degree murder.
About 20 family members and friends were at the courthouse for their first appearance to hold vigil for Zander and to demand justice.
Crowchild says she has seen to many unfair trials.
“He wasn’t an adult, so yes, we do need to speak up and ask for justice for Zander,” she says. “We need to make sure that everybody from law enforcement, all the way to the judge, crown prosecutor, whoever plays a role from now until the sentences are delivered. Let it be a fair trial. Let the truth come out.”
Crowchild says the family will be back for every court appearance and released a statement on behalf of the family.
“His young life ended too early. He was raised within a family who love him and provided for him. Zander had a passion for wild horse relay, a great brother, willing to dance with his sister, forever bringing laughter and teasing was his nature,” said a statement released from the family.
“We thank you for your support as we journey together seeking #justiceforzander!”
According to Crowchild, Cardinal will appear again in court on Dec. 23, and Steinhauer’s next court date is set for Jan. 14.