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Timeline of slayings of 4 women in Winnipeg, demands to search landfill for remains

Family and supporters walk from Portage and Main to the Manitoba legislature to protest the provincial government's delay in searching a landfill for missing indigenous women, Friday, March 8, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

WINNIPEG — A judge ruled Thursday that a man who admitted to killing four women in Winnipeg is guilty of first-degree murder. Lawyers for Jeremy Skibicki had asked that he be found not criminally responsible because of mental illness.

Here is a timeline of the case:

March 15, 2022 — Police say an unidentified woman is killed on or around this date.

May 1, 2022 — Morgan Harris, a member of Long Plain First Nation living in Winnipeg, is last seen in the area of Main Street and Henry Avenue north of the city's downtown. Police say the 39-year-old is killed on or around this date.

May 4, 2022 — Police say Marcedes Myran, 26, also of Long Plain First Nation and living in Winnipeg, is killed on or around this date.

May 14 or 15, 2022 — Police say they believe 24-year-old Rebecca Contois of O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation, also known as Crane River, is killed on or around these dates.

May 16, 2022 — Officers find the partial remains of Contois in a garbage bin near an apartment building. They secure the Brady Road Resource Management Facility, a city-run landfill, where they believe there could be more remains. Police say they believe the remains of Harris and Myran were transported to the privately operated Prairie Green landfill, north of Winnipeg, on this day.

May 18, 2022 — Skibicki is arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Contois. Officers execute a search warrant at his apartment in the same area where her remains were found.

May 19, 2022 — Police say remains found in the garbage bin near the building belong to Contois.

June 2, 2022 — Police begin searching the Brady landfill.

June 20, 2022 — Police believe the remains of other victims are at the Prairie Green landfill.

June 21, 2022 — Police say remains found at the Brady landfill are of Contois.

Dec. 1, 2022 — Police charge Skibicki with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Harris, Myran and the unidentified woman. They say the unknown woman is believed to be Indigenous and in her mid-20s. Indigenous leaders later name her Mashkode Bizhiki'ikwe or Buffalo Woman.

Dec. 2, 2022 — Skibicki appears in court. Police Chief Danny Smyth says the remains of Harris and Myran are believed to be at the Prairie Green landfill but no search is planned because too much time has passed.

Dec. 6, 2022 — Police defend their decision not to search Prairie Green. Relatives of Harris share their disappointment and anger on Parliament Hill and say they're prepared to search on their own.

Dec. 8, 2022 — Operations at Prairie Green stop as the Manitoba government and the City of Winnipeg decide how to proceed. First Nations leaders call for the police chief to resign.

Dec. 14, 2022 — Smyth apologizes in a meeting with First Nations leaders and the victims’ families for comments about not searching the landfill. Police are to be part of an Indigenous-led committee that will study feasibility of a search.

May 12, 2023 — The study says a search is feasible but could take up to three years and cost $184 million. Family members and Indigenous leaders say it must go ahead.

July 5, 2023 — Manitoba's Progressive Conservative government says searching the landfill is too risky.

July 6, 2023 — Protesters at a camp set up at the Brady Road landfill begin blocking access to the site and demand governments search Prairie Green .

July 14, 2023 — A judge grants a temporary injunction to end the blockade and says demonstrators can continue to protest but cannot block the road.

Aug. 4, 2023 — Relatives of Harris and Myran meet with federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree. They later lead a round dance at a rally calling for a landfill search. Other rallies take place across the country.

Aug. 9, 2023 — Manitoba’s NDP promises a search if it wins the provincial election, which it does in October.

Jan. 26, 2024 — Another study says a search could be done within one year and cost $90 million but searchers would face health risks from asbestos.

March 8, 2024 — Family members of Harris and Myran and supporters rally outside the Manitoba legislature calling for a search.

March 22, 2024 — The federal and Manitoba governments say they will put up $20 million each to search the landfill.

May 2, 2024 — A judge rules Skibicki's trial will be heard by a jury. The defence had argued jurors could be biased because of pretrial publicity.

May 6, 2024 — Lawyers for Skibicki say he killed the four women but should be found not criminally responsible because of mental illness. The Crown says due to complexities with the defence, the trial can proceed without the jury.

June 10, 2024 — Lawyers for the Crown and defence make closing submissions.

June 11, 2024 — The Manitoba government announces it has given environmental approval to the Prairie Green search, which is to begin in the fall.

July 11, 2024 — Justice Glen Joyal convicts Skibicki on four counts of first-degree murder.

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

The Canadian Press

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