A crowd of supporters showed up at Saskatoon provincial court on a chilly and grey afternoon to rally around Megan Gallagher’s family.
It was the first time the family has spoken to reporters since learning on Nov. 8 that remains found weeks earlier were those of the missing 30-year-old.
She hadn’t been seen since September 2020. Her father, Brian Gallagher, said the knowledge of what happened to his daughter “creates a very disturbing and horrific picture.
“For more than two years, many people have kept secrets,” he said outside the courthouse. “For whatever reason, they chose not to admit what they knew or what they may have done.
“According to the charges so far, a number of people may have unlawfully confined Megan, assaulted her, murdered her, and disposed of her by throwing her over a bridge to cover up what they had done.”
Saskatoon Police coordinated the late September search near the St. Louis bridge on the South Saskatchewan River, 120 km northeast of Saskatoon, after nine people were arrested and charged over the summer.
Ernest Vernon Whitehead and Jessica Badger-Sutherland are each charged with offering an indignity to human remains and had court dates Monday.
Their Legal Aid lawyer spoke in court on their behalf by phone; their next appearances are set for Dec. 6. As the accused make their way through the judicial system, Gallagher reminded those gathered that his daughter was much more than this case.
“She was an amazing mother; I couldn’t believe it the way I would watch her, she just blew me away,” he said after court Monday. “She was an amazing daughter, she was an amazing granddaughter.
“She was an incredible sister, she was an incredible niece, she was an incredible auntie, she was an incredible friend. She was the pied piper of children.”
But Gallagher said he has a harder time now, seeing those happy images of Megan.
“What I often see is our beloved Megan being restrained, by at least four people. In my vision, she is being beaten, her face is swollen and bloody. She is crying and begging ‘please just let me go.’ She’s crying and begging ‘please just let me go,’ until she took her last breath.
“And that’s the image that I’ve created in my mind when I hear about the charges,” Gallagher said.
Four people are charged with first-degree murder, and one of those, Summer-Sky Henry, remains at large.
Gallagher said he believes the police investigation is coming to an end, but the family doesn’t plan to stop in its advocacy for missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people (MMIWG2S).
“There are too many families, like I’ve said so many times, that are suffering.”
Gallagher said family and friends will soon gather to plan some ceremonies for Megan.
They’re waiting for Megan’s sister, Lindsey Bishop, to return from the East Coast where she has completed a cross-Canada walk to raise awareness of MMIWG2S.