A 35-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder after human remains were found in a forested area near John D’Or Prairie, Alta. on July 15.
Police began their investigation on July 12 after a person found clothing on a road. Further investigation led officers to find human remains which were later identified as missing teen, 15-year-old Roderica Ribbonleg of Little Red River Cree Nation.
Ribbonleg was last seen in the community a week earlier, on July 5.
John D’Or Prairie is a First Nations settlement and part of the Little Red River Cree Nation, which is more than 700 kilometres north of Edmonton in a remote part of Alberta.
Little Red River Chief Conroy Sewepagaham said the teen’s death has been “extremely difficult.”
“Roderica was not just a young girl, but she was still a child,” he said in a statement to Global News. “A student, a friend, a daughter and a granddaughter.
“A child who was robbed of a bright future. A child who will never experience the various gifts of life, a human being who was also one of our homefires.”
On Aug. 19, John D’Or Prairie resident Jason Alec Tallcree was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
Sewepagaham said the community was thankful for the work of the local RCMP detachments from Fox Lake and Fort Vermilion, “and to the Major Crimes Unit who have put countless hours and worked around the clock to get this solved for our families.”
“Having our tiny homefire’s case solved, it has given closure to many and will help all of us to start on the path of healing.”
Ribbonleg’s cousin Tracey D’or described the victim as an “outgoing little lady” who was into sport and art. She said the arrest has also helped bring some peace to the family amid the tragedy.
“I was actually relieved,” D’or said in an interview with Global News Friday. “I was shaken up about it, but also glad that they did make an arrest finally and that justice will finally be served.”
RCMP confirmed Tallcree was also arrested in 2014, after the remains of his common-law wife Malena Loonskin were found in the woods near their home.
At that time, Tallcree was charged with the second-degree murder and indignity to human remains. In 2015, those charges were stayed and Tallcree was released.
A spokesperson for Alberta Justice and Solicitor General said the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service makes decisions independently of government and determined that there that there was no longer a reasonable likelihood of conviction and stayed the 2014 charges against Tallcree.
Tallcree remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in High Level Provincial Court on Aug. 24.
The investigation into Ribbonleg’s death is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact Fort Vermilion RCMP at 780-927-3258.