Skye Sanderson said she finally has closure.
“It hurts so much,” she said. “But now I know. My kids know.”
Speaking to Global News, Skye said Damien’s brother Myles Sanderson was responsible for the 11 dead and 18 injured.
On Thursday, more than a month after the attacks, Saskatchewan RCMP confirmed that.
“Damien was killed by Myles Sanderson. We know that to be true,” Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore told reporters during a press conference.
“And he was not involved in any of the homicides.”
The RCMP has dropped all charges against him.
Speaking to Global News after the press conference, Skye said she didn’t know how to feel.
She said that the RCMP called her earlier in the day to tell her they were holding a press conference about the attacks, but that they wouldn’t tell her what would be announced.
“I just asked them if it was going to be something positive or should I brace myself all over again, to prepare myself for the worst again?” Skye says.
“They said that it should come out positive but to have some support there when I do watch it.”
But Skye instead chose to watch the announcement alone in her truck.
She said it was difficult being informed officially that Damien had been murdered by his brother, even though it was something she believed had happened all along.
And she says the RCMP have let themselves off too lightly on several points and failed her family.
During the press conference, Blackmore confirmed what Skye had previously told Global News — that RCMP members spoke to Damien 24 hours before the stabbings took place but didn’t recognize him.
Also matching what Skye said, Blackmore confirmed Damien gave a fake name and that officers didn’t check ID.
And the calls and conversations that Blackmore said brought the RCMP to James Smith Cree Nation all matched the timeline Skye had given, though Blackmore declined to name her.
The head of the RCMP in Saskatchewan also told reporters officers weren’t looking for Myles Sanderson, despite his many warrants and history of violence, because they didn’t know he was in the area.
An elder and brother of another of the victims told Global News he can’t believe RCMP members were so close yet didn’t stop Damien and Myles.
And he said the deaths and injuries may never have happened if officers had checked ID when looking for a stolen vehicle.
Ivor Wayne Burns, whose sister, Gloria, died in the attacks, said officers didn’t do their job because they have “that redneck feeling about Indians,” that officers believe, “‘they’re just Indians and we don’t have to check around really good like (if it were) white people.’”
He said the violence could have been minimized if officers responded sooner, telling Global News that the RCMP need a detachment on James Smith territory.
Since Skye had spoken out about the events of Sept. 4, she says her relationship with Damien and Myles’s family had broken down. Their parents had “chosen sides”, she said, and stopped speaking to her — including Damien’s mother, Beverley, who lived with the couple prior to the murders.
She hopes the new information will reach Damien’s relatives.
And after fiercely defending her husband, a dedicated father, she now must face the horrible reality of caring for their family without him.
“I’m still picking up the pieces today,” she said.