A friend of Winnipeg’s latest homicide victim claims Marie Morin would often come by her apartment with bruises.
“Marie was with me last week just before she died,” Sue Caribou told APTN News.
“The last time she was here she had sore ribs and (they) were all bruised, and she was in a lot of pain – she had a black eye and a fat lip.”
Morin, 46, was rushed to a Winnipeg hospital on the morning of May 15.
The Winnipeg Police Service said emergency personnel found Morin in an apartment in critical condition with “a significant laceration.” They said she died the same day.
Police have charged Brandon Carl Starnyski, 45, with second-degree murder in what they describe as domestic violence.
Caribou said she knew Morin and her family for years, and Morin often sought refuge on her couch.
“Just some snapshots of her being at my place,” Caribou said of photos she claimed were taken of Morin in the days before her death last week.
“I gave Marie clothes whenever she came here because her clothes were always bloody.”
Caribou said Morin returned to the home she shared with Starnyski, despite having “a restraining order” against him.
There were other times “she was at my home when she called shelters, police, and then when she hung up the phone she would say to me, ‘Well, sister, I’m not getting anywhere so I might as well just go back to this effing guy.’”
A shelter spokesperson said “no one is supposed to be turned away” when they call for help.
Deena Brock, provincial co-ordinator for Manitoba’s Association of Women’s Shelters, said if Winnipeg’s two family violence shelters are full then victims are referred to the next nearest shelter with available beds – and transportation is provided.
A police spokesperson confirmed Starnyski was not supposed to see Morin.
“At the time of the homicide, Starnyski had a probation order prohibiting his contact with Morin,” Const. Jay Murray said in an email Tuesday.
“As documented in the media release from May 16, he was (also) charged with failing to comply with the order.”
In that news release, police said Morin was “socializing with the suspect at his residence when she was assaulted. The victim suffered a significant laceration, and the homicide is considered domestic in nature.”
Caribou said a vigil was held Monday night to remember Morin, a practice whenever an Indigenous woman is murdered in Canada.
Caribou said Morin was a member of Manitoba’s Granville Lake First Nation.
Morin’s death is homicide No. 15 in Winnipeg so far this year.
Caribou, a family member of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, alleged Morin was often roughed up.
“I don’t know why people investigate after a person died; it’s too late,” she said on Facebook Messenger.
“She’s been calling out for help – I know that for a fact because she was at my place, she was scared and no one what (sic) bother helping her out.”
Caribou said Morin had children who were enroute to Winnipeg to join in making funeral arrangements.
No one from the family was available to speak before press time.
Murray said the police service recently launched a web page on domestic violence listing resources for those affected.
“Domestic violence touches all aspects of our community and knows no boundaries with respect to ethnicity or socioeconomic status,” the service said in a release.
“For anyone living through abuse, or anyone watching a loved one living through it, getting the right answers can be difficult, and many are left with the question, ‘What do I do now?’”