Jeremy Skibicki charged with 4 counts of first-degree murder of Indigenous women in Winnipeg

Winnipeg police are asking the public to help them identify the owner of a jacket like this. Photo: Supplied

A Winnipeg man is a suspect in the slayings of four Indigenous women.

Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth announced Thursday his officers have charged Jeremy Anthony Michael Skibicki with four counts of first-degree murder.

Skibicki, 35, was arrested on May 17, 2022 and charged with one count of first-degree murder in connection with the death of Rebecca Contois, 24, of O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi (Crane River) First Nation, located about 3 1/2 hours northwest of Winnipeg.

Smyth told a news conference Skibicki now faces three additional counts of first-degree murder in connection with the killings of Morgan Harris, 39, and Marcedes Myran, 26, – who are both from Long Plain First Nation west of Winnipeg – and a fourth unidentified female victim.

None of the charges against Skibicki have been tested in court.

At the news conference at their downtown headquarters, police displayed photos of a black, bomber-style parka with faux fur trim they said was similar to one the unidentified woman was wearing.

The inside lining is patterned with black and white stripes, the words “baby phat”, and a cat-like logo.

The outside of a jacket Winnipeg police say is connected to the homicide of an as-yet-unidentified Indigenous woman. Photo: Supplied

“The big takeaway is to get this information out to the public about that jacket,” said Major Crimes Insp. Shawn Pike. “We’ll take information with regards to it.”

Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham also attended the news conference.

“We must never become numb to the horrors of the news that we’re hearing today, because every homicide represents a life,” Gillingham said. “As a father, as a husband, I feel deep sorrow for these lives that have been lost far too early.”

Pike said the crimes were the subject of “extensive investigation.” He noted women in Winnipeg had nothing to fear because the suspect was in custody.

“We have no information to suggest there will be anyone else involved,” Pike told reporters.

Rebecca Contois
Winnipeg police say Rebecca Contois, 24, was killed in Winnipeg in May 2022. Photo: Facebook

Pike said all of the homicides occurred within weeks of each other, specifically between March and May of 2022.

He said homicide detectives believe the unidentified female was the first to be killed, followed by Harris and then Myran. But none of their remains have been recovered.

“The last thing we want is this victim to be a Jane Doe,” said Pike, noting DNA evidence was crucial to the case but didn’t elaborate as to how.

Contois was the last to be killed, Pike added, noting some of her remains were discovered on May 16 and later in June.

Pike said further victims were possible as police continue to investigate.

“It is always unsettling when there is any kind of a serial killing,” said Smyth, “this isn’t the first time in our history that we’ve encountered this.

“We are very sensitive to the whole missing and murdered Indigenous women investigation and inquiry, and the recommendations that came out of that.”

Despite all of the victims being Indigenous, the Crown did not lay hate crime charges against the suspect, Pike confirmed.

Morgan Harris, left, and Marcedes Myran, 26, were killed in Winnipeg last spring, according to Winnipeg police. Photos: Supplied

But such charges are something the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO), which represents First Nations in southern Manitoba, wants to see.

“SCO urges all those involved in investigating and prosecuting this person to charge him with committing hate crimes against Indigenous women,” said SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels in a news release.

“I also urge investigators to take very seriously that, for years, families have been asserting there are serial killers who are targeting Indigenous women.”

Daniels said the unknown victim is believed to be a woman in her 20s.

Major Crimes Insp. Shawn Pike, left, and Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth at a news conference. Photo: APTN News

“The person charged with committing these heinous crimes has an online presence that must be investigated,” Daniels noted in the release.

He suggested the suspect’s alleged crimes “will be celebrated by those who share his hateful views.”

Kyra Wilson, the chief of Long Plain, joined Daniels in expressing condolences to the victims’ loved ones.

“Clearly, there are not enough resources to keep our women, girls, Two Spirit, and gender-diverse people safe in this province,” Wilson said in the SCO release. “Our First Nation will need support in the days, weeks, and months ahead as many of our members will be impacted by this tragic news.”

Police urged anyone with information to contact the Homicide Unit at 204-986-6508 or Manitoba Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).

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