‘We still don’t know what happened:’  Missing woman’s family grieves as 2nd suspect appears in court


A second man charged in connection with the death of a Métis woman in Saskatoon made an appearance in Provincial Court on Friday.

Roderick William Sutherland, 44, made his first appearance on a charge of indignity to human remains in the death of Megan Gallagher.

Another man, Ernest Vernon Whitehead, 41, appeared on the same charge on Thursday.

Saskatoon Police say they’re still looking for a man and a woman in connection to Gallagher’s death.

The mood outside the courthouse was somber for the 30-year-old woman’s family— who have become prominent voices in the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls movement in Saskatchewan since she went missing in September 2020.

Gallagher’s father Brian Gallagher, says like the past 18 months, the last few days have been incredibly difficult.

“You know, like I’ve said so many times, you’re not sleeping the same, you’re not doing anything the same, your routine is messed up,” he says. “You’re just physically kind of– it drains everything out of your whole soul, your whole body, you just have to wait, and be patient.”

Megan Gallagher
Family of Megan Gallagher meeting with media outside the courthouse in Saskatoon. Photo: APTN.

The family still doesn’t know what happened to Gallagher and police are keeping details to a minimum.

Meanwhile, her sister, Lindsey Bishop, is in Thunder Bay, Ont., on a cross Canada walk to raise awareness for MMIWG.

Stepmother Debbie Gallagher says her daughter is committed to the cause, in spite of the fresh grief of the past few days.

“It doesn’t matter how the conversation starts, whether it’s a button or a pin or the red dress in your window, it’s an opportunity to start those conversations in a non-threatening way,” she says.

“It’s not about making people feel bad, it’s about learning.  We have to learn from our past to make it better for the future, where people are free to talk about their culture.

Gallagher was last seen alive on a convenience store surveillance tape.  Later that month, the Major Crimes Unit released an audio recording of a call made from her cellphone.

A woman and man could be heard calling for a cab to pick them up. Her phone has not been found. In January of 2021, police announced that they were treating Gallagher’s case as a homicide.

They did not release details as to why.

Megan Gallagher
Police are still looking for John Wayne Sanderson, 44, of James Smith First Nation, and Jessica Sutherland, 42.

Gallagher’s Aunt Wendy Sekulich, says with this week’s court appearances, things got a lot more real for the family, but they still don’t know what happened to her.

“We honestly don’t know, and like I said until things are final, I will hope and pray every night that she walks through the door,” she says.

“But we do, we want her home, one way or another we want her home. We need her home.”

 

Leanne has a certificate in broadcasting and has more than 12 years of radio news experience, both as an anchor and reporter in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Métis journalist is a passionate writer and born storyteller and loves to connect with people and learn about their life experiences.