The remains of a teen who was reported missing in southern Alberta last week have been discovered and a homicide investigation is now underway.
The grandfather of 16-year-old Tregan “Piikani” Crow Eagle says the community searched for days after he was last seen by his older sister at a residence in the early morning hours, last Wednesday, July 22.
Two days later, Piikani Nation RCMP put out a public plea to help locate the teenager.
On Thursday morning, RCMP said the teen’s remains were discovered on the Piikani Nation on Monday.
His grandfather, Geoff Crow Eagle Sr., says his grandson’s uncle was the one who found the 16-year-old’s body at about 9:30 p.m. on Monday, wrapped in a blue tarp.
“He was found on the east side of Brocket, at the dump pile, somebody was trying to bury him,” he said. “We went to check it out after when the crime unit left, because they phoned me and said ‘you can go over there,’ because we wanted to pray.”
An autopsy was conducted in Calgary on Wednesday and RCMP said Crow Eagle’s death has been deemed a homicide. The cause of his death was not released.
Crow Eagle Sr. says he’s at a loss for what could have happened.
“He had a lot of friends, and he doesn’t go around looking for any kind of violence, he was always with family. He was very gentle, a gentle being,” he said.
“I don’t want to speculate anything, or assume, or point fingers or anything like that. I just want to stay optimistic that crime unit, the RCMP and whoever’s involved find out what really happened.”
Crow Eagle Sr. and his wife were the legal guardians of Tregan.
“When he left he was always phoning home. He would say – to whoever answers the phone – he says, ‘tell grandma and grandpa I’m over here,’ or he would talk directly to the grandma and say ‘grandma, I’m over here, I’ll be home shortly.’ He was always communicating with us, wherever he was going,” he said.
“But he just never phoned, and he had a phone, and he just never phoned, and I just don’t know how to explain that feeling that we were going through.”
Crow Eagle Sr. says his grandson had been home in Brocket after spending a month in Calgary at a youth treatment program. To his knowledge, the 16-year-old had been sober for more than a month, until last Monday when he was seen drinking with three others by his older sister.
“It’s not acceptable to do that. To violently attack a 16-year-old kid. It’s just not acceptable. A child at that age should be loved, should be cared for,” he said.
The Alberta RCMP Major Crimes Unit is leading the investigation and is asking anyone with information to come forward to police. Information can be submitted to the Piikani Nation RCMP at 403-965-2000. Anonymous information can be given to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.
Brocket is located between Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod and is the main community on the Piikani Nation.