WINNIPEG — Manitoba RCMP say they have found the remains of a First Nations woman who was reported missing three years ago.
Police received information recently about the disappearance of Melinda Lynxleg that led officers to an abandoned residence in the rural area of San Clara, Man., near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan boundary.
RCMP crews, including a forensic identification team and a forensic anthropologist, began canvassing the area earlier this week and recovered Lynxleg's remains.
Police are considering Lynxleg's death a homicide following an autopsy Thursday.
"This is not the news that anyone wanted to hear," Sgt. Laura LeDrew said during a news conference Friday.
"Though we suspected (Lynxleg) was deceased, confirming that fact is very difficult, certainly for the family but also for the investigators."
Lynxleg, who was from Tootinaowaziibeeng Treaty Reserve, also known as Valley River First Nation, was last seen in March 2020 and reported missing shortly after.
Throughout the investigation, police spoke to more than 60 people with whom the mother of six had a relationship. Officers searched multiple locations throughout western Manitoba and Winnipeg.
The rural property where Lynxleg, 41, was found contains a small house and several outbuildings.
"We have been searching for so long that when the remains were discovered there was a collective moment of silence," LaDrew said.
Betty Lynxleg said the last three years have been difficult on her niece's children.
"They have missed three years of cuddling," she said. "They've missed three years of school events with their mom."
Police would not say whether they have identified any suspects.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2023.
The Canadian Press