Remains found in Saint John in 2012 identified as Moncton woman murdered in 2004

·4 min read

Trudy Welner is relieved — and frustrated — that her sister's remains have finally been identified.

"It has been very frustrating," Welner said of the 16-year wait between when her sister was reported missing in 2004 and identified this month.

Cheryl Pyne disappeared in August 2004, and although her body was not found, a man was convicted of manslaughter in her death in 2009.

Welner said her family had "moved on" and become resigned to never knowing where her body was.

Unbeknownst to them, her remains were actually discovered in Saint John in 2012. But they weren't identified until recently.

RCMP spokesperson Const. Hans Ouellette said new developments in DNA technology allowed samples collected from a family member to be used to match a sample in the National Missing Persons DNA Program.

Submitted by Trudy Welner
Submitted by Trudy Welner

Ouellette said it was the first time the RCMP in New Brunswick used the national databank to successfully identify remains through the use of familial DNA.

He said a sample was collected from a family member last month and sent for comparison.

Welner said the wait has been "horrific and unbearable at times."

"I'm frustrated with the system, but at the same time, we can only try to grieve and move on with what we have. We can only hope that ... this would have happened sooner when they had her, but we can't continue to be upset about things that we can't change or do anything about."

She said her family is "trying our best to have closure under the circumstances."

In 2009, when 38-year-old David Joseph Ouellette was convicted of manslaughter in Pyne's death, the court heard that Pyne was dropped off at Ouellette's apartment on the night of June 30, 2004. She collapsed in Ouellette's bathroom while doing drugs and he apparently tried to revive her.

Later, she took more drugs and Ouellette thought she was overdosing, so he started choking her.

The Crown prosecutor said Ouellette put her in the bathtub and went for help.

One of his friends arrived and began dismembering Pyne's body. Ouellette said that friend died before the trial.

He said Pyne's remains were dumped in a rural area. His lawyer told the court that Ouellette took police to several locations — all in the Moncton area — but her body was never found.

Const. Ouellette said there was nothing ever found during the investigation that would have led police to the Saint John area.

"At the time, all the tips and leads were leading to that she would possibly be found in the Moncton region and we continued to believe that until recently when we were able to get the familial DNA," said Ouellette.

"No one ever deserves to die the way our family members have — either of them." - Trudy Welner

He said investigators aren't sure how Pyne's remains ended up in Saint John.

That's not the only mystery that remains for Welner's family. They're still wondering who killed their mother less than a year after Pyne's murder.

Kathryn Pyne-Welner was also the victim of a homicide. The 45-year-old Moncton woman last seen alive on the evening of May 12, 2005 on Lutz Street in Moncton. Her naked body was discovered on May 17, 2005 under an ATV bridge at the head of the Shediac River in Stilesville.

Her case has never been solved and police continue to seek information about her death.

Ouellette said the mother and daughter homicides are not related.

Submitted by Trudy Welner
Submitted by Trudy Welner

But Welner hopes the identification of her sister's remains will help trigger someone who knows something about her mother's death.

"No one ever deserves to die the way our family members have — either of them," said Welner.

"They were women who poured their heart and soul into their family, and friends who became their family. They both were somebody's sister, mother, daughter — they were human beings and had the right to be treated as such."

Welner, who was 20 when she reported her sister missing in 2004, said Pyne would have given her last $5 to someone who needed it more than she did.

She said her sister had "an infectious laugh" and had a way of seeing the bright side of any situation.

Welner said Pyne's funeral and burial will be held sometime in the spring at Alderwood Cemetery, in Riverview and she will be "laid to rest with her mom."

"Even though we have found enormous waves of solace with outpouring love and support from our friends and family, this is still a difficult time, not knowing the events that preceded our mother's death," said Welner.