Missing Manitoba woman Christine Wood's disappearance now a homicide

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No decision on bail for Brett Overby, charged with murder of Christine Wood

Winnipeg police have arrested and charged a 30-year-old man in the death of a woman who disappeared last summer.

Christine Wood, 21, who lived in Oxford House First Nation, was last seen Aug. 19 while visiting Winnipeg with her family.

She was last spotted leaving the Days Inn on Berry Street sometime after 9 p.m., but never returned. 

On Friday night, police arrested Brett Ronald Overby, 30, of Winnipeg and have since charged him with second-degree murder.

On March 21, investigators spent several days at Overby's home in the 300 block of Burrows Avenue. One neighbour said the identification unit removed a number of items including two interior doors before leaving the scene.

According to court documents, Overby was arrested on March 24 and charged with assaulting a former girlfriend between 2011 and 2016.

It's not yet clear what led officers to the man's North End home, or how he's connected to Wood.

Family never gave up search

On Saturday morning, Wood's relatives posted RIP messages on Facebook.

Melinda Wood, Christine's mother, told CBC News the family was not ready to speak publicly, but she wanted everyone to know "we didn't give up, we never gave up on her."

Winnipeg police will hold a press conference Monday to provide details on the investigation.

After wondering for weeks why police spent five days at Overby's home, neighbour Jeremy Zehr was shocked to hear the news.

"I feel like it's definitely an unfortunate situation and it's sad," he said.

Zehr, who knows his neighbours by name, said this won't change the way he feels about his community.

"I think something like this, although it will be a bit of a shock to people for sure, I don't think it'll affect the way people feel in our neighbourhood and feeling safe with each other," said Zehr.

"I do believe our community is quite a safe place."

Asked for DNA

James Favel of Winnipeg's Bear Clan Patrol said he and other volunteers with the patrol had spent months searching for Wood in hopes of a happier outcome. 

"I never met Christine personally but I've been spending a lot of time over the past seven and a half months thinking about her," he said Saturday.

Favel said Wood's mother Melinda phoned him Friday night to say her daughter had been killed.

"To have this be the outcome is obviously — it's not what we were hoping for ... and we feel for the family," Favel said.

"Now there's going to be a lot of work to prop up the family and help them get through this."​

Favel said he and the family remained hopeful Wood would be found alive until a week or so ago. He said that's when police asked Melinda Wood for a DNA sample.

"I've been all this time telling her stay positive, we're going to find her, this is going to be OK. And I was wrong. So that's a bitter pill right there," said Favel.

Police haven't said if Wood's remains have been found, or what led to her death. 

Hilda Anderson-Pyrz, a local advocate on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, expressed her condolences to Wood's family in a statement to CBC News. 

"A very tragic and heartbreaking outcome. Rest in peace Christine, you just started to live your young adult life and you were taken way too soon." 

Family in Oxford House, Man., are holding a vigil today, and a memorial will be planned for Winnipeg.