A local organization that works with children and youth is now remembering a young Winnipeg woman who has fallen victim to homicide, as a caring person and a “beloved” staff member.
“We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of Mackaylah Gerard-Roussin,” Rossbrook House, a Winnipeg-based youth drop-in centre wrote in a social media post on Monday, reacting to the news that RCMP have confirmed that 20-year-old Gerard-Roussin of Winnipeg was the victim of a homicide.
Manitoba RCMP, in a press release on Monday, said that at 1:40 p.m. on Saturday, Steinbach RCMP received a call “indicating that a homicide had occurred.”
RCMP said officers responded to a home on Creekside Drive in Steinbach to investigate, and when they got there realized the suspect had fled in his vehicle, and they said they had reason to believe a deceased victim was likely in the vehicle being driven by that suspect.
Officers spotted the vehicle near La Broquerie, and the suspect was taken into custody, but no body was found in the vehicle.
RCMP said information was later obtained that directed officers to a remote ATV trail in a rural area south of the community of Woodbridge, where Gerard- Roussin’s body was discovered.
In their post, Rossbrook House said that Gerard-Roussin was well known within the organization, as she began attending their programs as a child, and later became involved in working with the centre that runs as a neighbourhood drop-in centre for children and youth aged 6-24 in Winnipeg’s inner-city.
“Mackaylah was a long-time participant who began attending Rossbrook House from a young age, alongside her cousins. They all became beloved junior staff, followed by senior staff members,” the post said.
“Mackaylah was a lovely young woman who graduated last year from Rising Sun high school. She was a part of our Pow Wow and programs for many years. We will always remember her as outgoing, smiling, and singing at our Christmas parties.”
RCMP said that Gerard-Roussin and the suspect in her murder knew each other and the suspect has now been charged with first-degree murder.
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) Grand Chief Garrison Settee also issued a statement on Monday reacting to news of the homicide and to what he said is ongoing violence being perpetrated against Indigenous women and girls.
“I would like to express our sincere condolences to the friends and family of Mackaylah Gerard-Roussin. Our hearts are with you as you mourn the loss of your loved one,” Settee said. “We need to ensure that our women are safe and free from violence. It is a basic human right to live without fear of violence, threats, and abuse.
“There is more work to be done, and we cannot accept the loss of another daughter, sister, mother, or loved one to gender-based violence.”
— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun