Process to search landfill for 2 First Nations women put in motion

‘Today was a good day but a damn hard one,’ says family of Morgan Harris.

Warning: This story contains distressing details. Please read with care.

There were concrete signs Tuesday the Manitoba government intends to search a landfill for the remains of at least two First Nations women slain by confessed serial killer Jeremy Skibicki. 

The province issued a “search bulletin” for the Prairie Green landfill, located just north of Winnipeg, under the Environment Act the day after Skibicki’s quadruple homicide trial wrapped up.

Premier Wab Kinew also met Tuesday with the families of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran – two of four Indigenous victims Skibicki confessed to disposing in city garbage bins in the spring of 2022.

Members of the Harris family toured the Prairie Green landfill immediately following the meeting.

“Today was a good day, but a damn hard one,” said George Robinson, a member of the Harris family.

Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew speaks to reporters after meeting with families at the legislature. Photo: APTN.

Kinew laid out a five-stage search plan following the meeting, noting waste material at Prairie Green will start being moved this month.

He said Stage 1 was “just completed” and included getting budgets and approvals “out of the way.”

“The second stage is about us standing up the facilities and conducting those trial search operations,” he told reporters. “Stage 3 – hiring the workforce, standing up the entire search activity; Stage 4 – targeting that area where we believe the remains and the landfill material from May 16, 2022 are. And then, Stage 5 will be for us to search more broadly than that, if the initial attempt is not successful.”

Kinew said a technical briefing and site visit was being planned for the media next week, but “today was about talking to families and acknowledging, ‘You’ve been through one heck of a terrible experience, but we are going to make good on the commitment to search the landfill.’”

The search will put families first and be done in a fiscally responsible manner, the premier added, and most importantly show that Manitobans “don’t leave anyone behind.”

Starting right away

“They’re going to be starting right away – hopefully by the end of summer or something – and they can work right through winter. So it’s good,” said Donna Bartlett, the grandmother of Marcedes Myran, after meeting with Kinew.

“We still have a long road ahead of us, but we are finally getting started,” said a message posted on social media by Myran’s sister, Jorden Myran.

On Tuesday night, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree quote-tweeted his original message from March 25 that announced the federal commitment of $20-million towards the search by adding: “Permits are in place. We are going to keep pursuing justice and healing. With the families, communities, and Manitoba, the landfill will be searched.”

The Manitoba premier suggested the search could go into 2026.

He said he has nothing but respect for the families.

“Can any of us imagine losing a loved one, have it become the subject of political ads, then have to sit in court with the person who has confessed, and then to have all the uncertainty about whether we were going to make the effort? Without getting into great detail, I would feel a tonne of emotions,” Kinew said to reporters.

-With files by Kathleen Martens

Support is available for anyone affected by these reports and the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous people. Immediate emotional assistance and crisis support are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through a national hotline at 1-844-413-6649.

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