Rinelle Harper attacked a second time after she crawled out of river: Winnipeg police

Winnipeg police said Wednesday two men have been charged with attempted murder in connection with the attack on Rinelle Harper.

APTN National News
WINNIPEG–A 20 year-old man and a 17 year-old youth have been charged in connection with brutal, repeated attacks on 16 year-old Rinelle Harper and a second, unidentified woman.

Winnipeg police Superintendent Danny Smyth said Wednesday that Justin James Hudson, 20, and the 17 year-old male were now in custody and facing charges of attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon. The two suspects were arrested Tuesday.

Smyth said the two suspects also allegedly attacked Harper and a second, unnamed 23 year-old woman the same night, leaving her unconscious on a Winnipeg street.

Smyth revealed chilling new details about the attack on Harper during a press conference Wednesday. He said Harper was attacked a second time after she crawled out from the Assiniboine River.

The two men met up with Harper at midnight Saturday after she had become separate from her friends, Smyth said.  After striking up a conversation, they led her to the river-walk along the Assiniboine where she was violently sexually assaulted with a weapon, he said.

“The two males turned on Rinelle and violently assaulter her in the upper and lower body,” said Smyth.

Harper ended up in the “frigid” waters of the Assiniboine River after the initial assault. She crawled out of the river only to be attacked again by the two suspects and “left for dead,” said Smyth.

Harper was found by a passerby at about 7 a.m. Saturday.

After the suspects attacked Harper, they met up with a second woman at about 2:30 a.m., sexually assaulting her with a weapon. She was also left unconscious on the street.

While Winnipeg police’s homicide unit led the investigation, it was information from a constable that proved key in leading to the arrest and charges, said Smyth.

“That was instrumental in linking the two separate attacks together and the two victims,” said Smyth. “Without that information, I’m not sure if we would have been able to resolve it as quickly as we did.”

Smyth said police had yet to find any strong links between Saturday’s attacks and the murder of Tina Fontaine, 15, whose wrapped body was pulled from the Red River.

Smyth said the two suspects were not known to police before their recent arrest.

–More to come

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