‘It keeps dragging on and on’: Family of Megan Gallagher attends Saskatoon court for ’35th time’

One of four accused in Gallagher death remains in custody-case adjourned again.

Family of Megan Gallagher

The family of Megan Gallagher meet with media outside the courts in Saskatoon. Photo: Leanne Sanders/APTN.


There was another court appearance and adjournment for one of the accused in the death of Megan Gallagher, a Métis woman living in Saskatoon.

Gallagher’s disappearance in the fall of 2020 was declared a homicide in 2021 and four people have since been charged with offering an indignity to a human body.

In court was John Wayne Sanderson, 44, who was apprehended at James Smith Cree Nation in late July.

“I don’t have any words – it’s indescribable what’s going on there,” Brian Gallagher said. “As long as things don’t change incidents like that, I think, are going to continue to happen.”

Gallagher said he’s frustrated with the length of time cases against the four accused in his daughter’s case are taking to make their way through the courts.

“I think this is our thirty-fifth appearance in court, and again today there was another adjournment. The other (accused) in Megan’s case – they’ve been released with minimal conditions and. as yet, there’s been no pleas.

“There’s only been one (accused) that has been done in a timely manner and it’s beyond fathoming how it can go that fast for one person, and the other people can continue to be at large out there. With the exception of John Sanderson,” Gallagher said.

Roderick Sutherland, 44, is expected to enter a plea on Sept. 18.

Ernest Vernon Whitehead, 41, and Jessica Sutherland, 45, also face the same charge of offering an indignity to a human body in Gallagher’s case.

They’re free on their own recognizance.  Gallagher said there is no homicide charge and he still doesn’t know what happened to Megan or where her body is.

Gallagher repeated his position that people who know something need to speak up.

“Silence is killing us. The silence is literally killing many of us,” he said. “There are people out there who have information that need to come forward. We attend (court) endlessly, it seems, with little or no movement, and it just keeps dragging on and on and on.”

Also attending today’s court appearance was Megan Gallagher’s sister, Lindsey Bishop.  She’s been on a cross-Canada walk for missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2-spirit people, and has made it from Victoria, B.C., 4,500 km to Perth, Ont.

She returned to attend court with her family and also support the second annual community walk in Megan’s honour.

Bishop said she’s met a lot of people on the cross-Canada walk who have similar stories to Megan’s.

“It’s painfully beautiful to see the strength and resilience in the community,” she said. “The stories that we hear are heartbreaking at times, but they’re also – they fill your heart because you see the strength of the people, you see through all the hardships and hurt with their missing loved ones, how they come together and they support each other.”

Bishop said she’ll continue making noise and raising awareness on the walk. Her goal is to make it to St. John’s, NL.

“If we let ourselves be silenced, then who is going to speak for us?” she said. “How are we ever going to change this? I find strength in knowing that she’s with me in spirit wherever she is, and she would be proud.”

Editor’s Note: A line in the earlier version of this story wrongly referred to Myles Sanderson. We apologize for the error. 

Leanne has a certificate in broadcasting and has more than 12 years of radio news experience, both as an anchor and reporter in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Métis journalist is a passionate writer and born storyteller and loves to connect with people and learn about their life experiences.