Suspects in hockey bag death named in documents

Cape Breton Regional Police in Nova Scotia have named the men they believe killed a woman whose remains were found stuffed inside a hockey bag on the Mira River.

In court documents filed in December, officers identify Glace Bay residents Thomas Barrett and Morgan MacNeil as the suspects in the killing of 21-year-old Laura Jessome, who was from the Cape Breton community of Little Bras d'Or.

Neither man has been charged.

Jessome, 21, was last seen May 2 in the New Aberdeen area of Glace Bay. A hockey bag containing her remains was found floating along the Mira River near Marion Bridge several weeks later, on May 25.

Police have not said how she died.

Brian Augustine Deruelle, 37, and Robert Edwin Matheson, 49 — both from Glace Bay — were arrested last month and each charged with accessory after the fact.

Although no one has been charged with killing Jessome and there is nothing proven to implicate Barrett and MacNeil, Cape Breton Regional Police allege Deruelle and Matheson knew Barrett and MacNeil had killed Jessome and helped them escape.

"Knowing that Thomas Barrett and Morgan MacNeil had murdered Laura Catherine Jessome did assist Thomas Barrett and Morgan MacNeil for the purpose of enabling Thomas Barrett and Morgan MacNeil to escape, contrary to Section 240 of the Criminal Code of Canada," the documents say.

But Desiree Vassallo, a spokeswoman for the Cape Breton Regional Police, said police will not confirm whether the two men are suspects.

"Police wouldn't release names of anybody until a charge has been laid against that person. So at this point, we've named the two individuals charged with accessory and that's all we can say," she told CBC News on Wednesday.

In November, Nova Scotia's Department of Justice added Jessome's case to the Major Unsolved Crimes Program, offering up to $150,000 cash for tips that lead to solving the case.

Deruelle and Matheson are currently in custody in a Sydney jail — Deruelle is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 16.

Barrett and MacNeil are also in police custody for charges unrelated to Jessome's homicide.

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