July 17th, 2024

‘Buckets of tears’: The four women who died at the hands of a Winnipeg serial killer

By The Canadian Press on July 11, 2024.

Kirstin Witwicki, right, a cousin of Morgan Harris, attends a vigil in Winnipeg, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. Jeremy Skibicki was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Harris and three other Indigenous women. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

WINNIPEG – Jeremy Skibicki admitted to police that he killed four women in Winnipeg in 2022. Court heard he targeted them at homeless shelters.

A judge was set to rule Thursday whether Skibicki is guilty of first-degree murder or not criminally responsible due to a mental illness.

Here is a look at the victims:

Rebecca Contois

Rebecca Contois, 24, lived in Winnipeg but was a member of O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation, also known as Crane River. She had a daughter.

Court heard that in May 2022 a man looking for scrap metal found her partial remains in a dumpster in Skibicki’s neighbourhood. More of her remains were discovered the following month at a city-run landfill.

Her family later said in a statement that the discovery was incredibly difficult.

“We have experienced paralyzing grief. Pure devastation,” the statement said.

“I don’t think we have ever cried buckets of tears, painful wake-you-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-anxiety, a type of grief never experienced before. Deep, deep sadness.”

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Morgan Beatrice Harris

Morgan Beatrice Harris, 39, was a mother of five and a grandmother to one.

She lived in Winnipeg and was a member of Long Plain First Nation.

Police believe her remains are in another landfill, and a search is to begin there this fall.

“She was silly. She was fun. People loved to be around her,” her daughter Cambria Harris said at a vigil in 2022.

Kirstin Witwicki said her cousin had a “huge spirit” and was fearless.

“I know that she loved her children, and she did the best she could with what she had,” Witwicki said.

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Marcedes Myran

Marcedes Myran, 26, also lived in Winnipeg and was a member of Long Plain First Nation. She was a mother of two.

Her remains are also believed to be in the Prairie Green landfill.

Angel Myran said she was pregnant the last time she saw her cousin, who rubbed her belly.

“She laid her head on my shoulder and I told her I loved her and missed her,” Angel Myran said in a message.

“I’ll forever hold onto that memory of her.”

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Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe

A victim police have been unable to identify was named Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman, by a group of Indigenous grandmothers.

Investigators said they believe she was Indigenous and in her mid-20s.

They have been unable to find her remains.

Officers seized a reversible Baby Phat branded jacket with her DNA on a cuff.

A ceremonial buffalo headdress symbolizing Buffalo Woman has sat on the Crown prosecutors’ table during Skibicki’s trial.

“We wanted her to have a name and we wanted her to belong to a community,” said Thelma Morrisseau, who was part of the naming ceremony for Buffalo Woman.

“She needs to be honoured and respected.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 11, 2024.

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