The mother of a woman found dead in Portage la Prairie this fall says the man now charged in her killing is also her long-time partner and the father of three of her children.
Tamara Benoit (Norman), 36, was found dead near Cottonwood Drive in the RM of Portage la Portage Prairie Sept. 3.
Benoit had been reported missing in July, and police have previously said the Metis woman was last seen alive May 23 in the Portage la Prairie area.
At a Thursday press conference RCMP said Ryan Peters, 37, from Long Plain First Nation, was arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree murder.
Benoit’s mother, Sheila Norman, told Global News her daughter and the accused had been together for more than eight years and had three children together.
Norman said she is relieved to see charges laid in the killing of her daughter, who she described as a caring mother.
“She loved her children very, very, very much,” Norman said Thursday.
“She was a very caring person, very funny person, very loving person, very outgoing person.”
Norman said Benoit had seven kids in all, including her latest — who she named Justice — born just months before she went missing.
Superintendent Michael Koppang, who heads up Manitoba RCMP’s major crime services, confirmed Benoit and the man now charged in her killing were known to each other, but wouldn’t get into the specifics of their relationship.
He said RCMP worked closely with police in Winnipeg, where Benoit primarily lived, and the Manitoba First Nations Police Service to make the arrest.
Koppang wouldn’t say how police believe Benoit was killed.
“What I can say is this situation was tragic and horrible — it was a bad crime, a tragic crime,” he said.
RCMP said a 15-year-old boy from Winnipeg was also arrested this week but released without charges, although Koppang said further arrests and charges are expected in the case “imminently.”
“Putting the handcuffs on someone and charging them with a homicide provides some justice to the deceased and their family, but the fact remains that a young life has been lost,” Koppang said.
“The investigative team never lost sight of who Tamara was, the violence she endured and the loss her family suffered.”
–With files from Joe Scarpelli