Manitoba RCMP have charged a man with murder in the death of Tamara (Norman) Benoit, 36, whose body was found last fall.
“This situation was tragic and horrible,” Supt. Michael Koppang said Thursday. “Justice we hope will be brought for the families.”
Benoit’s remains were discovered in the Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie, west of Winnipeg, on Sept. 3. She had been reported missing to Winnipeg police on July 10.
Mounties said the woman was last seen in the area of Portage la Prairie and Long Plain First Nation on May 23.
Ryan Peters, 37, of Long Plain First Nation was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder.
RCMP said in a release that a 15-year-old boy from Winnipeg was also arrested this week but released without charges, although further arrests in the case are “anticipated.”
Police said Benoit was a much-loved mother, sister, daughter and friend. She had been researching her Metis background and family history before she died.
Koppang said he could not provide details on what happened but Benoit and Peters were known to each other. He added it was “a tragic crime.”
Koppang said that throughout the process, police “never lost sight of Tamara.”
RCMP, the Winnipeg Police Service and the Manitoba First Nation Police Service were involved in the investigation. Koppang said officers also worked with the communities.
Manitoba Justice Minister Cameron Friesen thanked officers for their work on the case and said the government continues to support joint police efforts in protecting vulnerable citizens.
“Too often, Indigenous women and girls have been the victims of violence and their families don’t receive the closure and sense of justice they need to heal,” he said in a release.