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Piikani family mourns death of 16-year-old, homicide investigation underway

Piikani family mourns death of 16-year-old grandson, homicide investigation underway
The family of a 16-year-old-boy is speaking out after his body was found on the Piikani Nation. RCMP have ruled his death a homicide. Taz Dhaliwal has the details.

Alberta RCMP major crimes unit is now taking over the investigation into the homicide of 16-year-old Tregan “Piikani” Crow Eagle.

The grandfather, Geoff Crow Eagle Sr., said the community searched for days after Crow Eagle was last seen by his older sister at a residence in the early morning hours of July 22.

Two days later, Piikani Nation RCMP put out a public plea to help locate the teenager.

Read more: Missing southern Alberta teen found dead; homicide investigation underway

Crow Eagle lived with his grandparents, who were also his legal guardians, on the Piikani Nation, Alta.  His grandfather feels his grandson’s life was unjustly taken away, too soon.

“He used to serve at the church, St. Paul’s Catholic Church and he was active in our catholic parish and he was always aiming to be in culinary,” Crow Eagle Sr. said.

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He adds his grandson was a kind, gentle and respectful person, who was family oriented.

Crow Eagle Sr. said his grandson had been home in Brocket, Alta. after spending a month in Calgary at a youth treatment program. To his knowledge, the 16-year-old had been sober for over a month, and was only recently seen drinking again.

After an autopsy was conducted, RCMP deemed Crow Eagle’s death a homicide but the cause was not released.

Several family members came together on Friday to mourn is death.

Tregan’s mom, Yolanda Crow Eagle said she is looking for justice in her son’s case and will not be satisfied until those responsible for his death face consequences.

She said she loved her son dearly and will miss seeing his cheerful personality, adding he was someone who had much potential in life.

“It’s a really sad reserve, it’s really sad, this month July,” said Margaret Plane Eagle, the boy’s great aunt.

Plane Eagle said it has been a tough time for the reserve with the impact from COVID-19 and she said the youth continue to struggle addictions.

Crow Eagle Sr., also wanted to clarify something he said during a phone interview with Global News at an earlier.

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He had mispoke when he said his grandson was last seen on July 20, and instead meant July 22.

The teen’s remains were discovered wrapped in a blue tarp at a dump site on the Piikani nation July 27 around 9:30 p.m. by an uncle.

“Met at the public works parking lot, estimated about 25-30 people in the search party,” said Ferlin Crow Shoe, the boy’s uncle.

“We broke off into a group of four people, some had five,” Crow Shoe recounted.

He said the just before they discovered the body at the dump site, the landowner came over to them and said that morning there had been magpies that gathered around a particular spot and were making noises, and so Crow Shoe went to check that area.

That tip lead him to his nephew’s decomposed body. Due to the state of the body, the family said there cannot be a viewing.

The family is still in the midst of making funeral arrangements.

Read more: Photo shoot honours overdose victims as Piikani Nation sees spike in substance-related deaths

The grieving family is now left seeking justice for their loved one.

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“I’ve said many times and I’ve always told my children, violence is never acceptable,” said Crow Eagle Sr.

He goes on to say that what happened to his grandson was violent and uncalled for, he said the Piikkani community and elders do not believe in violence or abuse, especially when it comes to someone who was as young as Tregan.

The family would also like to thank the immense support they’ve received from fellow community members, from those who helped with the search, called in to check on them and to those who have provided statements to the police.

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.

Files from Global News’ Caley Ramsay and Danica Ferris