19-year-old charged with 2nd-degree murder, sexual assault: Prince Albert RCMP

Zellall Highway was taken to a local clinic where he was pronounced dead by paramedics. Charmaine Poorman / Supplied

Nathan Waditaka has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Zellall Highway and with assault and sexual assault for allegedly attacking a 17-year-old girl.

Shortly after midnight on Dec. 26, Prince Albert RCMP were called to the Wahpeton Dakota Nation Health Centre for an injured girl, who cannot be named because she is a minor.

Officers determined her injuries were caused by an assault and they proceeded to the home on Wahpeton Dakota Nation where the assault took place, an RCMP statement said.

READ MORE: Dylan Chretien’s death result of foul play: Prince Albert police

They found 19-year-old Highway, from Wahpeton First Nation, suffering from life-threatening injuries. He was taken to a local clinic where he was pronounced dead by paramedics.

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Police identified Nathan Waditaka, also 19, as a suspect and arrested him. He was taken to hospital in Prince Albert for injuries he received in the assault. The statement said he is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Dec. 30, the same day an autopsy is scheduled for Highway.

READ MORE: Tiki Laverdiere homicide suspect pleads guilty to accessory after the fact

An RCMP spokesperson confirmed that Waditaka and Highway knew each other but would not provide further details.

Charmaine Poorman, a childhood friend and second-cousin of Highway, said he’ll be remembered for his kindness.

“It’s unbelievable to think that someone who was always smiling and happy and always wanting to welcome someone or have a conversation is gone,” she said over the phone from Prince Albert.

“You could be in a store, minding your own business and he could pop up… and all of a sudden you’re standing there having a half-hour conversation.”

The girl has also been taken to hospital in Prince Albert for her injuries.

The investigation is ongoing.

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