Tragedy strikes northern Manitoba man for second time with loss of granddaughter

Tragedy has struck once again for a northern Manitoba man who has spent the last year desperately searching for his missing daughter, and is now mourning the sudden loss of his granddaughter.

“We have dealt with so much loss and so much pain, so we are having a very hard time right now,” Albert Shingoose of the St. Theresa Point First Nation said over the phone on Thursday from his home in the remote northern Manitoba community.

“It has been really hard on all of us.”

Albert has spent the last year travelling regularly between St. Thersa Point and Winnipeg, as he continues to search for his daughter, 31-year-old Ashley Shingoose, who disappeared off the streets of Winnipeg, and has not been seen or heard from by family or friends since March 11 of last year.

And Albert is now dealing with more loss, as it has been confirmed that one of two teenage girls who died in St. Theresa Point last week after being outside in frigid winter temperatures was his granddaughter Dayna Shingoose, who is the daughter of Ashley.

According to RCMP, Dayna and her friend Emily Mason were both discovered outside a home on St. Theresa Point First Nation last Wednesday morning, and police said they believe that both girls had been outside for a period of time overnight while temperatures dropped to as low as -23 Celsius.

RCMP said they were called to the home around 8 a.m. last Wednesday after the girls were discovered, and both girls were taken to a local nursing station where they were both pronounced dead.

Albert says he knows that Dayna had been suffering with bouts of depression since her mom disappeared last March, and said he had hoped to one day see them reunited, something he now knows will never happen.

“It was hard for her, and she knew that I was out there looking for her mom, and I would always tell her, ‘I’ll find your mom, I’ll bring your mom home.’”

According to Albert, the death has also affected Dayna's uncle Darnell Harper, who Albert said is a police constable in the First Nation, and was called to the scene where his niece lay dead.

“He was the one that found her at the scene, he saw her frozen, and he’s having a really hard time,” Albert said. “We keep on telling him to pray and do what he has to do to carry on, but it’s hard when you’ve seen something like that.

“It’s very traumatic.”

Albert says a funeral for Dayna is being planned in the community, and he knows that others in his community are suffering as well with the loss of the two girls.

“It’s really hard because we lost two young girls, so something like that really hits hard here, and a lot of people are in pain, and they are suffering.”

Albert said he also has no plans to stop travelling to Winnipeg and to continue to search for his missing daughter.

“I will go back again and again as long as I have to, and I will keep searching,” he said. I’ll never stop searching.”

Anyone with any information on the disappearance of Ashley Shingoose is asked to call the Winnipeg Police Missing Persons Unit at 204 986-6250.

— 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