Body of missing Cree woman found near Edmonton

Family, friends and searchers looked for the remains every weekend.

Billie Wynell Johnson disappeared Christmas Eve in Edmonton. Photo: submitted


The remains of Billie Wynell Johnson, a Cree woman who disappeared Christmas Eve, have been found this week in a farmer’s field on the north side of Edmonton, APTN News has learned.

Judith Gale, leader of the Bear Clan Patrol Edmonton Beaver House Hills House, said the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) made the discovery after receiving a tip.

“I’m just so happy to hear Billie’s been found,” Gale said in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon.

“They searched the area and then on the second day of the search they found her.”

Wynell Johnson’s sister, Kiara Omeasoo, confirmed the find in a brief phone call with APTN.

Wynell Johnson’s sister posted the news online Thursday before meeting with police.

“We’re actually going to have a meeting (with police now),” she said before confirming the remains were found “on the outskirts of Edmonton.”

EPS charged Wynell Johnson’s boyfriend, 35-year-old Kenneth Courtorielle, with second-degree murder on Feb. 9. He remains in custody.

Wynell Johnson, 30, was reported missing on Dec. 28. The couple was living together with Wynell Johnson’s two sons in Edmonton, a family member told APTN at the time.

Since then, family members, friends and Bear Clan supporters have searched for Wynell Johnson’s body nearly every weekend.

Gale said she is hoping the charge against Courtorielle is upgraded.

Billie deserves

“Now with forensics out there and stuff, they can determine it’ll be (a) first-degree (murder charge),” she said.

“That’s what Billie deserves and that’s what her family and her children deserve. Nothing less than first degree.”

Kiara said on Facebook she will cook a turkey for the memorial feast to honour Wynell Johnson’s life.

“The last conversation we had she called me on december 24th and said she was coming to my dinner so that’s what I’m cooking for her feast…

“My prayers have been answered thank you creator.”

EPS was also looking for Wynell Johnson’s remains and had asked area landowners to check their properties.

A spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on locating the remains before this story was posted.

Investigative Reporter / Winnipeg

Award-winning reporter Kathleen Martens covers western and northern Canada for aptnnews.ca. A veteran of the Brandon Sun, Sun Media and APTN Investigates, she is based in APTN’s head office, specializing in stories about property, women’s rights and community.