Winnipeg police say no ‘foul play’ involved with woman whose body was recovered from landfill

There were fears the mother of four had been murdered

Linda Mary Beardy smiles in this photo from her Facebook page. Photo: Facebook

Warning: This story contains graphic details

A First Nations woman whose body was discovered in a city landfill Monday afternoon died after climbing into a dumpster, Winnipeg’s police chief said Thursday.

“We’re satisfied this was not a homicide,” Danny Smyth told a news conference at Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) headquarters.

Smyth said Linda Mary Beardy, 33, was “positively identified” from surveillance video and “tips from the public” as being inside a retail store in the 2200 block of Pembina Highway Monday morning.

READ the Winnipeg Police Service news release here

She was then seen exiting the store alone and climbing into a dumpster on her own at approximately 11:14 a.m., he said.

“There was some activity observed inside the (refuse) bin and after a short period of time there was no further activity observed. But she was not observed climbing out of the bin at any time.”

The surveillance video was not shown at the news conference nor shared with the media.

READ MORE: Remains of First Nations woman discovered in Winnipeg landfill: police

A few hours later, Smyth said a commercial truck emptied the dumpster at 2:02 p.m. and took the remains to the nearby Brady Road landfill. There landfill employees spotted the body and called police.

“Linda’s body was discovered shortly after the contents were emptied,” Smyth added.

He said an autopsy concluded Beardy’s injuries “were consistent with that of a truck handling the bin. There were no other injuries that suggest foul play.”

WATCH the Winnipeg Police Service news conference here

Smyth said police were still awaiting the outcome of toxicology tests. And hadn’t closed the file.

“At this point, investigators are still open to pursuing any other information that might come in from the public.”

Smyth thanked Beardy’s family for giving police permission to publicly release the details leading up to her death.

“This is a tragedy,” the police chief said. “It’s garnered a lot of attention and concern across the country. And investigators and WPS personnel have worked around the clock to try to find some answers here.”

Beardy’s death sparked anger and fear that the mother of four was the victim of a killer who disposed of her body in the Brady landfill, where the remains of Rebecca Contois were discovered last June.

Winnipeg police have alleged Contois, who was Métis, and three other Indigenous women – Morgan Beatrice Harris, Mercedes Mayran and an unidentified victim named Buffalo Woman by First Nations elders – were murdered by one person.

They charged Jeremy Skibicki of Winnipeg with four counts of first-degree murder late last year. Skibicki has pleaded not guilty and his trial is scheduled for spring 2024.

‘Devastated and heartbroken’

Meanwhile, Beardy’s family released a statement Thursday saying they were “devastated and heartbroken” by her death.

“It is difficult to comprehend that this happened to our loved one and to our family,” the statement said. “Many want to know about Linda, who she was and how she lived. Linda was our baby girl, a Mommy, our Sister, Auntie, Niece, cousin and friend. She will always be truly deeply loved beyond measure.”

The family confirmed Beardy was a member of Lake St. Martin First Nation, located 225 km northwest of Winnipeg, and grew up in the city. They said she attended Pinkham and General Wolfe schools, as well as St. Norbert Adult Education Centre.

“Linda had a strong Christian faith and grew up attending Bethel Tabernacle,” the statement added. “She was also an active member of Living Bible Explorers. At the time of her passing, Linda actively attended the Believers Church.”

Her family said she was “a super devoted Auntie” with a “contagious laugh that filled any room she was in.” She was the youngest of five sisters and in constant contact with her family, the statement said.

“Linda loved being a Mommy to her four children and they were her pride and joy. This is who our loved one, Linda Beardy is and how she will be remembered in our hearts.”

The family said there would be a march to Winnipeg city hall from the intersection of Portage Avenue and Main Street beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.

“We thank the community for your support and invite you to raise your voice for justice for Linda,” they said in the statement.

“We ask that anybody that has any information that will help to bring justice for Linda to contact the Winnipeg Police Service at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).”

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