WATCH: RCMP announce the arrest and confirm suspect was convicted of killing his wife in B.C. last month
WINNIPEG – A police task force dedicated to investigating missing and murdered women has made an arrest in the death of a Winnipeg woman.
Myrna Letandre was reported missing in October 2006. Her remains were found in a Lorne Avenue home in Winnipeg in May 2013.
Project Devote investigators arrested Traigo Ehkid Andretti, 38, in British Columbia on May 30, 2014. He is facing a second-degree murder charge. He is also known as Dylan Harold Grubb.
Andretti, 38, was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of his wife in British Columbia last month.
Letandre, who was 37, was originally from Pinaymootang (Fairford) First Nation in Manitoba’s Interlake area. The arrest has First Nations leaders wanting more involvement with Project Devote, “When something goes wrong in a First Nation community the family’s first point of contact is with their leadership with their chief and council,” said Dennis Whitebird a representative from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. “At the very least, there has to be some leadership involved in any kind of a relationship dealing with justice.”
The arrest is also renewing calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, “In this puzzle we’re working on, it’s 1,181 pieces and one of them has been found so we have a long way to go,” said MKO Grand Chief David Harper.
In the B.C. case, Andretti admitted to killing and dismembering his wife, Jennifer McPherson, who was also a longtime Winnipeg resident.
Police discovered the scattered remains of McPherson on a remote island near Alert Bay, off the east coast of Vancouver Island, last spring. She had been reported missing from Hanson Island, B.C., on May 1, 2013.
The couple had been living there as caretakers of a remote fishing resort called the Pacific Outback Resort.
Project Devote is a joint operation of the RCMP and Winnipeg Police Service. It was established in 2011 to address unsolved historical homicides and missing person cases involving exploited and at risk people and where foul play is suspected. Most are of aboriginal ancestry. Andretti’s arrest marks the first one for the task force, “our investigators are working continuously to follow up on with hundreds of leads and tips and they’ll remain doing so,” said Chief Superintendent Scott Kolody.
A news conference about the latest arrest at the RCMP D Division headquarters on Portage Avenue was live streamed on globalnews.ca/winnipeg.
— With files from The Canadian Press