Ernest Whitehead, whom Saskatoon police arrested in connection with the disappearance of Megan Gallagher, has been released from custody.
Crown and defence lawyers in the case agreed to a consent release with conditions on Friday morning. Whitehead, 41, is due back in court on July 7.
Saskatoon police arrested and charged Whitehead on June 1 with offering indignity to human remains.
In January of 2021, the SPS announced it was treating Gallagher’s disappearance as a homicide.
Speaking outside the provincial courthouse, Brian Gallagher, Megan’s father, said he was numb.
And he said he worried Whitehead’s release could hurt the investigation.
Some of Whitehead’s release conditions prevent him from contacting anyone in a gang and from posting anything to do with Gallagher’s disappearance on social media.
“We know that the streets talk. We know networks talk,” Brian said.
“I’m worried (Whitehead’s release) will jeopardize the case.”
Brian was joined by more than 20 family members and friends, most of whom were wearing t-shirts and sweaters with Gallagher’s face and characteristics listed. Many wore red, the colour associated with missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
But Ingrid MacColl, Gallagher’s birth mother, wasn’t present. Brian said her health has deteriorated since Gallagher disappeared.
Relaying MacColl’s reaction, Brian said “the justice system is not set up for the victims and the ones left behind.”
Gallagher was last seen in September 2020 on security camera footage.
Police, with help from Saskatchewan RCMP, have since arrested Roderick Sutherland and Jessica Sutherland and charged them with the same crime.
A fourth suspect, John Sanderson, remains at large.
Brian said he doesn’t know why police have not yet laid homicide charges, despite announcing they were treating the matter as a homicide investigation. He said it was frustrating but also the reality of what was happening.
He said he still has faith in the justice system.
“If (the justice system) can prevent this happening to other people then I think that’s the positive that we need to take out of this,” he said.
A spokesperson for Saskatoon police said they couldn’t comment on an ongoing investigation and because three people were before the courts.
Brian said the family believes many more people know about Gallagher’s disappearance. He asked them to come forward.
“Being silent, you share the guilt. And that guilt is taking our girls and women from us.”
— with files from Kelly Skjerven and Aishwarya Dudha