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Manitoba expected to reveal more details Thursday into how it’ll search landfill for women’s remains

The Manitoba government is expected to release more details Thursday into its plan to search a Winnipeg-area landfill for the remains of two victims of an admitted serial killer.

The province will hold a technical briefing in which the government will lay out in greater detail its plan to search the landfill by hand, a provincial official confirmed.

The remains of Morgan Harris, 39, and Marcedes Myran, 26, are believed to have been taken to the landfill after they were killed by Jeremy Skibicki, who is on trial for first-degree murder in their deaths. 

He admitted during a 2022 police interview to killing the two women, along with Rebecca Contois, 24, and an unidentified woman community leaders have given the name Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman.

While Contois’s partial remains were found in garbage bins near Skibicki’s apartment and at the Brady Road landfill in Winnipeg, Harris’s and Myran’s remains are believed to be at the Prairie Green landfill, north of Winnipeg.

Skibicki’s defence has argued he should be found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

Last week, the province announced in broad strokes that its search would be divided into five stages.

The first stage involved obtaining licence approvals to search the Prairie Green landfill, which the province’s environmental approvals branch granted earlier this month.

The faces of three First Nations women are pictured side by side.
Left to right: Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran and Rebecca Contois. Skibicki has admitted to killing all three women, as well as a fourth who remains unidentified, but has been given the name Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman. (Submitted by Winnipeg Police Service and Darryl Contois)

The next stage is to complete a “pilot search” and build temporary support buildings at the site.

Following that, a workforce will be hired over the summer months and the search facility will be prepared. A search of the targeted area where it’s believed the women’s remains are will then begin.

If that initial search is unsuccessful, the search will widen, Premier Wab Kinew said last week.

The provincial and federal governments each committed $20 million to help fund the landfill search earlier this year.

Kinew recently said it’s believed the remains are buried closer to the middle of the cell in the landfill rather than closer to the surface.

Some searching in June

As part of the “pilot search,” later this month, workers will sift through a different area of the landfill to understand the consistency of the material before starting a manual search of the targeted area.

Kinew said the search will use a grid system that permits multiple people to search through materials and open bags. Workers hired for the manual search will be required to follow extensive health and safety precautions and undergo training.

“The search is going to move through these other stages over the course of this year and the next and realistically could go into early 2026,” he said.

Support is available for anyone affected by these reports and the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous people. Immediate emotional assistance and crisis support are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through a national hotline at 1-844-413-6649.

You can also access, through the government of Canada, health support services such as mental health counselling, community-based support and cultural services, and some travel costs to see elders and traditional healers. Family members seeking information about a missing or murdered loved one can access Family Information Liaison Units.

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