Family of homicide victim calls Winnipeg police investigation “flawed”

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Family of homicide victim calls Winnipeg police investigation “flawed” – Apr 27, 2016

WINNIPEG — The family of Simone Sanderson is speaking out against the Winnipeg Police Service after an arrest was made in the homicide case on Monday.

Kyllan James Ellis, 28, was charged by police with second degree murder. Sanderson was last seen alive on Aug. 26, 2012. Her body was found at the southwest corner of Main St. and Burrows Ave. on Sept. 2, 2012.

READ MORE: Winnipeg police make arrest in 2012 killing of Simone Sanderson

The Sanderson family and private investigator Janie Duncan made several allegations against police. Among the claims they have made are police having conducted a “flawed investigation” into the 23-year-old’s death.

“They were under public pressure because we were putting them under pressure through Facebook. We need to bring this forward to the public.”

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Duncan was hired by the family to conduct a separate investigation in Aug. 2015 and the Sandersons claim they did not notice movement on the case or details shared to them until the independent investigator was on the case. The family has also cast doubt on whether Ellis is the right suspect.

“We’ll be continuing our investigation in the hope of finding the true killer,” Duncan added.

Betty-Ann Sanderson, Simone’s grandmother, said she did not believe police took the concerns of her family seriously. She became emotional as she called for a renewed focus on missing and murdered indigenous women’s cases.

“There needs to be a change with how the [police] service looks after our missing and murdered women. As nobody should have to feel like I do now,” Sanderson said.

RELATED: 4,000 missing and murdered indigenous women? Minister can’t say

The Sanderson family continued to dispute claims that Sanderson was involved in the sex trade and was picked up by a john.

“[The family] has access to Simone’s Facebook page. And we have found no evidence to date, to suggest that she was soliciting sex clients from her page,” the private investigator added.
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Winnipeg police declined to respond specifically to the family’s allegations and cited privacy concerns about Simone Sanderson’s case. But it offered details into how the police service handles all investigations.

“If we don’t share certain details, I can tell you, more times than not, that is because we don’t want to jeopardize the investigation in any way,” said Jason Michalyshen, public information officer of the Winnipeg Police Service.

“Our focus and our commitment to the victim and to the families, regardless, will not change,” he added.

Ellis is now in custody and police confirm the accused’s DNA sample has been taken.

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