Winnipeg police arrest 2 men for attack on 16-year-old Rinelle Harper
WATCH: Winnipeg police arrest two men for attack on Rinelle Harper, 16.
WINNIPEG – Winnipeg police have arrested two people for the attempted murder of Rinelle Harper.
The 16-year-old pulled herself out of the freezing waters of the Assiniboine River Saturday morning after she was allegedly attacked twice and sexually assaulted sometime Friday night. Her family has said she is expected to make a full recovery.
Justin James Hudson, 20, and a 17-year-old young man were arrested on Tuesday and are charged with attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon.
They actually attacked Harper twice and went on to assault a second woman later that night, police allege.
Harper met the two downtown at about midnight and walked with them down to the Riverwalk, at which point she was attacked, police said.
She ended up in the Assiniboine River and was swept eastward before she pulled herself out of the water, soaking wet and wearing minimal clothing.
WATCH: Winnipeg police describe the horrifying events that befell 16-year-old Rinelle Harper.
Police allege the two men then came upon her again and assaulted her with a weapon before fleeing, leaving her in critical condition. She was found by a passerby at about 7 a.m. and taken to hospital.
After the two left Harper along the Riverwalk, they found a 23-year-old woman in the area of Portage Avenue and Sherbrook Street at about 2:30 a.m., police allege.
The two men allegedly engaged that woman in conversation as they walked and eventually attacked her with a weapon and sexually assaulted her in the area of Sherbrook Pool. She was left unconscious.
Police released Harper’s name earlier in the week with her family’s agreement. It was done to humanize the young victim, Supt. Danny Smyth told a news conference Wednesday morning.
The release of her name resulted in a “tremendous” public response, he said.
WATCH: Supt. Danny Smyth talks about the arrest of two people for the attack on Rinelle Harper, 16.
Global News doesn’t usually identify victims of sexual assault, but made an exception in this case after Harper’s parents allowed the release of her name to generate tips.
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief David Harper, a distant relative of Rinelle, said the family is relieved arrests have been made but the girl has a difficult road ahead.
Harper saw the teen in hospital yesterday and said she has stitches on her head and bruises all over her legs.
“It was very emotional. … At one point she was apparently unrecognizable,” he said. “How could they do that?”
Rinelle Harper is a student at Southeast Collegiate, which released a statement Wednesday that said the school was still “trying to come to terms with this horrific assault on one of their own.”
Harper left school Friday looking forward to the long weekend and some much deserved rest after mid-term exams, the statement says.
School officials were informed Saturday of the incident and counselling has been made available to students, it adds.
Many have drawn comparisons between the Harper case and that of Tina Fontaine, whose body was found wrapped in plastic in the Red River in August, but Smyth said police have no information linking the crimes.
Investigators will take a closer look for any links between the assaults, he said.
© 2014 Shaw Media