‘Nobody told us’: Family of Andrea Cederwall seeks answers at Skibicki trial

Court hears DNA found in admitted killer’s Winnipeg apartment

Warning: This story contains graphic details about a murder trial. Please read with care.

The family of a woman police identified as being inside the apartment of Jeremy Skibicki breathed a collective sigh of relief Monday.

They learned Andrea Ann Cederwall, an Ojibwe woman living on the streets of Winnipeg, was not a victim of the man who has admitted killing four vulnerable Indigenous women during his trial on now in Manitoba Court of King’s Bench.

Cederwall, a 31-year-old mother of three from White Dog First Nation in northwestern Ontario, died in Winnipeg on Dec. 8, 2023 of a drug overdose in a bathtub, said her brother, Justin Cederwall. She also suffered from a lack of oxygen to the brain, he added.

Court has heard Skibicki admitted to strangling Rebecca Contois, 24, whom a medical examiner testified died of a loss of oxygen to the brain.

Andrea knew Skibicki, said Crown attorney Christian Vanderhooft, and gave police a statement about him.

In fact, the prosecutor said he intended to call her as a witness.

Andrea Cederwall with her twin daughters. She also had a son. Photo: Submitted

Justin, and Andrea’s twin, 15-year-old daughters looked visibly relieved after speaking with Vanderhooft before the trial resumed Monday.

When Vanderhooft confirmed Skibicki was in custody when Andrea died it was the answer they needed.

“That was shocking to hear her name was mentioned in court,” Justin told APTN News. “Nobody let us know that her DNA was found in Skibicki’s apartment.

“Nobody told us.”

Skibicki is on trial for the first-degree murders of Contois, Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran and an unidentified woman known as Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe or Buffalo woman, in the spring of 2022.

Glenn Joyal of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench speaks to a reporter in 2012. Photo: Steve Lambert/The Canadian Press

The 37-year-old has admitted to luring the women he met at inner-city homeless shelters to his apartment, sexually and physically assaulting them, and killing them before dumping their remains in garbage bins near his home.

Only Contois’ remains have been located, Winnipeg police have said.

Skibicki confessed to the murders during his trial, and asked Chief Justice Glenn Joyal to find him not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder or NCR.

But the prosecution says he was of sound mind when he planned and executed the serial murders fuelled by hate and drugs.

The trial is in its second week and scheduled to run until June 6.

In court Monday, Winnipeg homicide detective Sgt. Paul Barber said police continue to investigate the nine unidentified female DNA profiles found in Skibicki’s home. In total, they confirmed 16 women, including the murder victims, had been in the killer’s one-bedroom suite in the city’s North Kildonan neighbourhood.

Jeremy Skibicki, in white, is interviewed by a Winnipg homicide detective on May 18, 2022. Photo: Manitoba Justice

They identified three – one of whom was Cederwall – but did not release the names of the other two.

“We are looking into (Skibicki’s) past and people he’s been involved with,” Barber testified.

He confirmed the investigation into the identity of Buffalo Woman, whom police believe is an Indigenous female in her mid-20s, is ongoing.

Court was told police viewed more than 2,000 hours of surveillance video gathered from homeless shelters, commercial and residential cameras as part of their investigation.

Skibicki was seen waving at and then joining Harris, 39, at a table in the cafeteria of N’Dinewemak, an Indigenous-led homeless shelter in the inner-city. He was seen meeting Myran, 26, outside N’Dinewemak and then walking with her to catch a transit bus. And, he was seen shopping for groceries with Contois, Barber said.

The women were all dead within days of the video sightings in the spring of 2022, court heard.

A man prosecutors say is Jeremy Skibicki walks through his neighbourhood in the early morning hours. Photo: Manitoba Justice

Court also heard Monday, Skibicki was in the process of adding Contois’ name to the lease on his apartment.

On more than half a dozen videos shown in court, Skibicki was seen walking through his neighbourhood in the pre-dawn hours – sometimes carrying duffel or garbage bags – and depositing them in commercial garbage dumpsters. The dates correspond with the times between March and May of 2022 police allege the victims were killed and disappeared, Crown attorney Renee Lagimodiere said.

Lagimodiere pointed out on one video how a man she said was Skibicki – wearing white running shoes  – can be seen upending smaller residential garbage bins into larger dumpsters.

“It appears to be awkward and heavy,” she said of one shot, “with something wrapped up” in black plastic.

On several videos, Lagimodiere said Harris and Myran can be seen wearing items of clothing later seized from Skibicki’s apartment with their DNA.

Read more:

Police find DNA of another 12 women at self-confessed killer’s apartment in Winnipeg

In the last video, Skibicki appears to be strolling down a lane in the middle of the night pulling a wheeled garbage bin like a suitcase.

Meanwhile, Justin Cederwall said Andrea’s daughters now have the resources they need to help deal with her death after meeting with victim support workers at court on Monday.

Andrea was known to Winnipeg police, who charged her in connection with a violent home invasion in Winnipeg on May 20, 2015.

Police declined to comment Tuesday on why the Cederwall family was not informed Andrea’s DNA was found in Skibicki’s home, citing the ongoing trial.

Contribute Button