Police looking for new information in Crystal Saunders case

“This week does mark 12 years since she was murdered.”

Police officers with a Manitoba task force called Project Devote were out asking questions this week about a cold case involving a murdered woman from Sagkeeng First Nation.

Officers went door-to-door in the small farming community of St. Ambroise, Man., about 100 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, hoping to find out what happened to Crystal Saunders.

Saunders was 24 when she disappeared from Winnipeg’s West End neighbourhood on April 18, 2007. Her body was discovered in a ditch in St. Ambroise by a trapper the following day.

Police have never publicly revealed how Saunders was killed. Local media at the time reported she was involved in the sex trade and addicted to crack cocaine.

“This week does mark 12 years since she was murdered,” Cpl. Julie Courchaine told APTN News.

“They want to try and seek justice for Crystal and her family.”

Project Devote, which investigates missing and murdered vulnerable person cases, is comprised of investigators from the RCMP and Winnipeg Police Service.

Sagkeeng, meanwhile, has the highest number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls of any First Nation in Manitoba.

“I know that she has a family and I know that the investigators of Project Devote are in contact with them,” said Courchaine.

“I’m sure these investigators – day and night – they’re thinking about this.”

Saunders had a young daughter at the time she disappeared.

Courchaine said something ‘insignificant’ could break the case wide open.

“Sometimes you think, ‘Oh, that’s not important or that’s insignificant.’ But they’re trying to say, ‘Anything you can remember, any little thing that seemed out of place. Maybe you’ve talked to people and heard things or anything of that nature.’”

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