Teen in government care found dead near Rocky Mountain House

Alberta's Children Services is investigating the death of a 16-year-old boy in government care who was reported missing in the Rocky Mountain House area Jan. 10 and found dead outdoors hours later.

"The death of any young person is heartbreaking and I am incredibly disturbed by this incident," Children's Services Minister Rebecca Schulz said in a written statement Friday. 

The teen was in the care of a delegated First Nations agency, Schulz said.

The boy's family is from the Samson Cree Nation at Maskwacis, Chief Vernon Saddleback told CBC News on Friday.

"We had a terrible loss, obviously," Saddleback said.

'Anger and grief'

The boy's funeral was held Thursday on the Samson Cree Nation reserve. It was attended by family and community members, as well as people who used to work with the teen, Saddleback said.

"They were obviously all touched by this loss. I mean, everybody who knew this boy came to pay their respects."

Some community members are questioning how a child under the care of an agency died in such a manner, he said. 

"Anger and grief are two emotions that you're going to feel when you lose somebody. We've had some people express anger and we've had a lot of people expressing grief."

RCMP said they received a call about a missing teen on the evening of Friday, Jan. 10.

Officers began investigating immediately, searching the area with police dogs, RCMP said.

The teen's body was found outdoors shortly after midnight, police said.

Police do not consider the death suspicious.

According to Environment Canada, Rocky Mountain House saw a high of –15 C and a low of –29 C on Jan. 10.  

Schultz said results of the review will be made public.

"I am committed to ensuring that the policies in place to support vulnerable youth are followed," Schulz said. "If changes are needed, we will make them."

The province automatically investigates the death of any child who is in its care.

The teen's death has been recorded on the Children Services website.

Manuel Carrillos/CBC