(The remains of Teresa Robinson, 11, were found last May. The RCMP now asking for DNA samples from boys and men in Garden Hill First Nation. APTN/file)
APTN National News
RCMP investigators have taken the unusual step of requesting DNA samples from boys and men from a northern Manitoba First Nation community where the remains of an 11-year-old girl were found during a search last May, according to the band’s chief.
Garden Hill First Nation Chief Arnold Flett said several RCMP officers have been knocking on doors in the community since Monday asking men aged 15 to 50 years old to allow a sample of their DNA to be taken at a local office used by the Mounties.
He said the RCMP officers have told community members the request is part of the investigation into the death of Teresa Robinson, 11, whose partial remains were discovered during a search last May.
Robinson’s death remains unsolved and police are treating the case as a homicide.
Flett said this is one of the rare times RCMP investigators have returned to the community to gather evidence as part of the investigation into Robinson’s death over the past nine months. He said he does not know the status of the investigation.
Flett said the community generally agrees with the DNA request.
“We informed the community (of the DNA testing) and there’s no opposition to it,” Flett said. “It’s not forced, it’s being requested.”
Flett said he hopes this will lead to a resolution for the community of about 3,000 people which continues to feel the impact of Robinson’s violent death.
“We’d like to see this be solved,” said Flett. “The people of Garden Hill would like to see that happen.”
He said the investigators are expected to remain in Garden Hill until Thursday gathering DNA samples.
Manitoba RCMP confirmed late Wednesday that the officers were gathering DNA as part of the investigation into Robinson’s death.
“The investigation into the murder of Teresa Robinson has remained an active case since our officers were first contacted and deployed to Garden Hill First Nation in the spring of 2015,” said Sgt. Bert Paquet, in an emailed statement. “While we are not in a position to discuss all the specifics of this ongoing case, we can confirm that our investigators have collected DNA samples from males of Garden Hill First Nation as one of several techniques used by officers assigned to the case.”