A jury trial for the Winnipeg man charged with manslaughter in the 2018 disappearance of Eduardo Balaquit has been put on hold after two more jurors tested positive for COVID-19.
The pause comes after a first juror who tested positive for COVID-19 was being discharged Tuesday.
Crown attorney Vanessa Gama confirmed to Global News Wednesday that two more jurors have since tested positive for the virus, leading the judge to put the trial on hold for five days.
Balaquit was last seen on June 4, 2018, when he left home to go to his cleaning job at Westcon Equipment on Keewatin Street.
His van was later found at the business with a smashed window and his belongings still inside.
Balaquit’s body has never been found.
In 2021, nearly three years after his disappearance, Winnipeg police announced Kyle Alexander James Pietz, 35, had been arrested in Saskatoon.
Pietz was charged with manslaughter in connection with the homicide and disappearance of Balaquit. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The 14-person jury heard the Crown’s opening arguments Monday morning.
The Crown argued the case is about a man driven by desperation that ultimately cost Balaquit his life.
In her opening arguments, Gama argued Pietz was in financial desperation and robbed Balaquit and ended up killing him in the process.
The trial had been expected to last six weeks.
— with files from Marney Blunt and Keesha Harewood
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