The veteran Prince Albert RCMP officer accused in the death of Braden Herman "indirectly" provided the details needed to locate the 26-year-old's remains and later open a homicide investigation, according to the city's police chief.
"It's because of the accused [Bernie Herman] we were led to his arrest shortly after the incident, and we were led to the deceased victim," Chief Jonathan Bergen told reporters Friday.
Braden Herman's body was found early Tuesday evening in Prince Albert's Little Red River Park by police officers, Bergen said.
He added the accused was taken into custody that night with reasonable cooperation, and within a couple of hours investigators had enough information to begin investigating the death as a homicide.
Bernie Herman, a 32-year member of the RCMP, has been charged with first-degree murder. He's expected to make his second court appearance in Prince Albert on May 26.
Investigating the victim and the accused's relationship
The victim and the accused knew each other, but they weren't related.
Braden's siblings have told CBC News the 53-year-old Mountie was known to them as having a personal and oftentimes controlling relationship with their brother.
Bergen said nailing down the exact relationship between the two is among the specifics investigators are trying to determine.
"It's pretty early in the investigation to draw any conclusions," Bergen said.
Cellphones have been seized in the investigation, and a home and vehicle in the 3300 block of Dent Crescent in Prince Albert, Sask., have been cordoned off, as officers try to obtain a clearer picture of what might have led up to the death.
An update with the inspector overseeing the case with the Prince Albert Police Service's criminal investigations division is expected next week.
2 independent observers appointed
Two retired police officers — who don't have connections to the RCMP or the Prince Albert Police Service — have been appointed by the Ministry of Justice as independent investigative observers, Bergen said.
"They have extensive backgrounds in investigating serious and major incidents, so we believe they have the experience and confidence to know what details to observe and look for — and to ensure this is a thorough, impartial investigation," the police chief explained.
Braden's half-brother, Brett Herman, tells CBC News he's aware of the independent oversight, and it helps to put his mind at ease as the investigation rolls out.
"I hope they find out everything about the case … but I guess we'll find out when we get the outcome," Brett said in a text message.
With the independent oversight, Bergen said the Prince Albert Police Service will continue its investigation into the death, emphasizing he has full confidence in his officers' ability to look into the case objectively with the "highest of accountability."