Northern Sask. residents waiting for answers after human remains found in landfill
Members of a northern Saskatchewan First Nation are looking for answers after human remains were recently discovered in their community landfill.
"There are so many rumours going around saying it's so and so. It's pretty hard on families. We're pretty shaken up," said Geoffrey Sandfly, security director for Big Island Lake Cree Nation, which is about 320 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.
He said a band member made the grisly discovery April 21.
"A young lady was picking bottles and cans in and around the landfill, and she stumbled upon a skull," Sandfly said.
The woman called the band office. Sandfly and others secured the scene before Pierceland RCMP arrived to investigate.
RCMP say they've ruled out a number of people who've recently gone missing and are conducting further tests and interviews. It's unclear when the test results will be released.
Sandfly said RCMP told them the skull was likely from a person in their mid to late 30s.
He said it would have been difficult for anyone to recently leave a body at the landfill undetected. The landfill is located in the centre of the reserve with only one road in and out.
Since 2020, the band has had more than 200 security cameras and 24-hour checkpoints at all community entrances. It started as a measure to curb the drug trade and gang activity, but also served to protect the community from COVID-19, he said.
RCMP said they've ruled out recent missing persons, but Sandfly said there are other older cases of missing community members who may fit the description.
The Saskatchewan RCMP historical case unit — which investigates longstanding unsolved missing persons cases, homicides, suspicious deaths and found human remains — has taken over the investigation.
The RCMP's National Centre for Missing Persons and Human Remains, missing person co-ordinator and Pierceland detachment, as well as the Cree Nation and Saskatchewan Coroners Office, will help the unit identify whose remains were found in the landfill.
Police say they will also seek co-operation from families of missing people.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Pierceland RCMP at 306-839-3330, or their local police service.
Information can also be sent anonymously to Crime Stoppers online, or by calling 1-800-222-8477.
Big Island Lake is located roughly 350 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.