‘Suspects have been identified’ in South Indian Lake killing, say RCMP

A Manitoba family is mourning a South Indian Lake woman RCMP say was murdered in her home community earlier this week.

On Wednesday, the family of a homicide victim identified her through a statement released by Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak as 47-year-old Noreen Ruth Tait of South Indian Lake.

“It is with deep sadness and profound grief we share the passing of our loved one who was tragically taken from us,” the family said in the statement.

Manitoba RCMP said their South Indian Lake detachment received a report from the local community nursing station on Saturday that a 47-year-old woman had been seriously injured, and was being transported to Winnipeg with life-threatening injuries. According to RCMP, when officers arrived at the nursing station and spoke with family members who were there, they were told Tait had been at a home in South Indian Lake, a remote community in northern Manitoba located more than 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg, and said they believed she was assaulted at the home.

On Tuesday, Tait died from her injuries in a Winnipeg hospital and RCMP say her death is being investigated as a homicide.

“As of my last update received yesterday, no arrests have been made, but suspects have been identified and the investigation is moving forward,” RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Paul Manaigre told the Winnipeg Sun in an email on Thursday. “South Indian Lake RCMP, along with Major Crime Services and RCMP Forensic Identification Services continue to investigate.”

The family of Tait is remembering her as a loving mother and grandmother who was dedicated to her friends and family.

“She loved her two daughters and grandchildren with her whole being. Her grandchildren were extra special to her. Noreen had a loving relationship with her family and community,” the family said.

“Noreen was a loving, free spirit, with a beautiful smile, who loved to laugh and spend time with her friends and family. She was a loving mother, Nana, granddaughter, sister, auntie, niece, cousin, partner, and friend to many.

“She was sacred, she was loved, and she will be missed by all those who knew her.”

The woman’s death comes as, in recent months, Indigenous women and girls have continued to fall victim to homicide in Manitoba, and some have been calling for more supports to keep Indigenous women and girls safe in this province.

In December, it was learned that four Indigenous women living in the city of Winnipeg were all allegedly murdered by Jeremy Skibicki, a man Winnipeg Police now allege is a serial killer, and who now sits in jail charged with four counts of first-degree murder.

During a media conference at the Manitoba Legislature back on Dec. 1, NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine said that if more services and resources are not made available to keep Indigenous women and girls safe in this province, then she believes they will continue to be abused and killed.

“There is not one day that our women do not get up to demand from governments and from every level of society to protect Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited,” Fontaine said on Dec. 1.

“There are deadly consequences when we don’t prioritize the protection of Indigenous women and girls.”

— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun