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Winnipeg

Vigil held in Carman for 5 victims

More than 100 people gathered in Carman, Man. Friday evening to remember five family members killed over the weekend.

Standing outside of the family’s home, community members lit candles in memory of the victims: 30-year-old Amanda Clearwater, six-year-old Bethany, four-year-old Jayven, two-and-a-half-month old Isabella and 17-year-old Myah-Lee Gratton.

Clearwater lived at the home with her three children, Gratton – who, though not related by blood, called Clearwater her aunt – and Clearwater’s common law partner Ryan Manoakeesick. Manoakeesick has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder in their deaths. The charges have not been tested in court and he is expected to appear before a judge on Feb. 23.

The five family members were found by RCMP at three different locations Sunday. The investigation began when RCMP were called to Highway 3 for reports of a hit-and-run and found Clearwater dead along the highway.

Then around 10 a.m. Sunday, officers were called to a vehicle fire on Highway 248. The three children were inside the scorched car and were pronounced dead at the scene. RCMP said Manoakeesick pulled his kids out of the burning vehicle. Manoakeesick was later arrested for their deaths.

The investigation then led police to the family’s home in Carman where Gratton was found dead.

Autopsies were conducted Monday and Tuesday but causes of death have not yet been released.

Earlier this week, Gratton’s mother Juliette Hastings told CTV News her daughter was placed in the home by Winnipeg Child and Family Services (CFS) in April 2023. Despite repeatedly telling CFS workers she feared the home was not safe, Hastings said her concerns fell on deaf ears.

On Thursday, Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew said he is open to an inquest or inquiry into CFS following the deaths of the five victims, including Gratton.

Kinew attended the vigil Friday evening and was seen speaking to family and friends of the victims.

Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth called on the provincial government to better support people facing intimate partner violence.

In a statement to CTV News on Wednesday, the province’s Families Minister Nahanni Fontaine said it will take time, and there is no easy solution to end partner violence.

– With files from CTV’s Danton Unger and Devon McKendrick

  

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