Remains of missing 8-year-old girl found in Maskwacis, Alta., police say
Edmonton police say they have located the remains of a young girl whose disappearance has led to a first-degree murder charge being laid.
A news release from the Edmonton Police Service on Saturday said earlier that day remains were found on the Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis, Alta., about 85 kilometres south of Edmonton. Investigators are confident they are those of a missing 8-year-old girl, but an autopsy has been scheduled for Monday to confirm.
Staff Sgt. Colin Leathem with the EPS homicide unit said that RCMP and band leaders helped facilitate the search and recovery.
"This is a significant development in the investigation, but we still have a lot more work to do," he said in the release.
EPS has said that neither the child nor the accused are being identified in order to protect the identity of other children related to the girl.
An EPS spokesperson said Friday that a publication ban is in effect in the case, but they were unable to say what information is protected under a court-ordered publication ban.
CBC News asked the Ministry of Justice about what the ban entails but has yet to receive an explanation.
Third person charged
On Friday, police said two individuals had been arrested and charged.
A 27-year-old woman has been charged with first-degree murder and indignity to a dead body and a 66-year-old man faces a charge of accessory to first-degree murder and indignity to a dead body.
Police said Saturday a 25-year-old man has also now been charged with accessory after the fact to murder and causing indignity to a dead body.
On Monday, EPS west division patrol officers went to a residence in the area of 87th Avenue and 165th Street to do a welfare check on a child there, police said.
When they were unable to locate the child, an investigation was launched. Homicide detectives became involved the next morning and two adults were charged on Thursday.
All accused were known to the girl, police said.
A vigil attended by more than a hundred people took place at a home in west Edmonton Saturday evening.
'We're so broken'
The girl's grandmother said she wants justice for her granddaughter and hopes the public can learn her name and her story.
The woman said the 8-year-old girl was a leader among her cousins and peers, never fought and would always make sure everyone around her was fed, happy, and in good spirits.
"She would be like, 'OK, you guys, we have to get along. We have to play together. We have to share,'" she told CBC.
She said the young girl's life was cut short too soon and she will remember her by the song they used to sing together, Butterfly Fly Away by Miley Cyrus.
The grandmother said their entire family is broken and she cannot wrap her head around why the girl was killed.
"We're so broken. We miss her. We miss her so much.
"It kills me to think I'm never gonna see her again."