A community is in mourning after confirmation that one of its own was murdered by an alleged serial killer. CJOB's Kim Lawson spoke with Cross Lake First Nation Chief Garrison Settee about how the community is coping after losing 18-year-old Lorna Blacksmith.
Lorna Blacksmith, Carolyn Sinclair, Tanya Jane Nepinak
Alleged serial killer in custody
Winnipeg police have arrested and charged an alleged serial killer responsible for the deaths of three missing Manitoba women.
31-year-old Tanya Jane Nepinak, 25-year-old Carolyn Marie Sinclair and 18-year-old Lorna Blacksmith all were reported missing between September and January. Court records show that police have pinpointed the dates of their deaths in that same time period.
Carolyn Sinclair's body was found on March 31, badly decayed, wrapped in plastic bags and placed near a dumpster in the 700 block of Notre Dame Avenue. Sinclair was pregnant at the time of her death.
Lorna Blacksmith's body was found last week in the 700-block of Simcoe Street in a similar manner, according to neighbours - badly decayed and wrapped in plastic near a dumpster.
Tanya Nepinak's body has not been found.
Police have arrested 52-year-old Chawn Cameron Lamb and charged him with 3 counts of 2nd degree murder. He is innocent until proven guilty. He makes his first court appearance Tuesday morning.
Chief Keith McCaskill says Lamb was arrested in June 21 for a separate sexual assault charge - that's when information about the murders came to light.
He was arrested the same day Lorna Blacksmith's body was found though police won't confirm Lamb led them to the body.
Lamb has a long list of criminal charges - including a sexual assault charge involving a 14-year-old girl - reportedly a chronic runaway.
Chief McCaskill says at this point, there is only evidence to lay the three charges. He says they are looking into whether the same suspect could be responsible for other offenses. Police say he has travelled to other provinces, and they are in contact with other officers in those areas.
Police say Lamb is originally from the Sarnia area and was living in the Simcoe area, near where some of the women went missing.
Police continue to investigate - recovering forensic evidence from the decomposed bodies, which police says is a difficult and time-consuming task and searching for the body of Tanya Nepinak.
First Namtions leaders are demanding a public inquiry into missing women in Manitoba.
Community leaders gather to speak about the deaths of three Manitoba woman. (Photo by CJOB's Kim Lawson)
Winnipeg Police Chief Keith McCaskill (Photo by CJOB's Kim Lawson)
(News release from the Winnipeg Police Service)
Monday, June 25, 2012
HOMICIDE INVESTIGATIONS – ARREST
Tanya Jane NEPINAK
On September 22, 2011, the Winnipeg Police Service requested the public’s assistance in locating 31 year old, Tanya Jane NEPINAK. She was last seen on September 13, 2011 in the downtown area of the city.
NEPINAK has not been located.
Carolyn Marie SINCLAIR
On January 11, 2012, the Winnipeg Police Service requested the public’s assistance in locating 25 year old, Carolyn Marie SINCLAIR. She had not been in contact with her family for a period of time and investigators were concerned for her well-being.
On March 31, 2012, shortly after 10:00 a.m., Winnipeg Police Service members responded to the rear of an apartment complex located within the 700 block of Notre Dame Avenue for a report of suspicious circumstances.
Upon arrival, officers located evidence near a garbage bin and the body of a deceased adult female was recovered.
The victim was identified as Carolyn Marie SINCLAIR.
In February, 2012, the Winnipeg Police Service received a missing persons report indicating that 18 year old, Lorna BLACKSMITH had not been seen since January, 2012. As a result, a media release was sent out requesting the public’s assistance.
On June 21, 2012, at approximately 7:00 p.m., officers attended to the 700 block of Simcoe Street regarding a body being located.
At this time, the victim has been tentatively identified as Lorna BLACKSMITH.
On June 21, 2012, members of the WPS Sex Crimes Unit became involved in a serious sexual assault investigation involving a 36 year old female victim. As a result of the investigation, a male was arrested. It was at this time information came to light regarding the body which was located in the 700 block of Simcoe Street. Members of the Homicide Unit were notified and continued with the investigation.
Due to the collaborative efforts from members of the Sex Crimes Unit, Homicide Unit and the Missing Persons Unit, Shawn Cameron LAMB, 52 years has been charged with: 2nd Degree Murder x 3 due to his alleged involvement.
He has been detained at the Provincial Remand Centre.
This investigation is ongoing and in its early stages. The WPS Homicide Unit will continue to liaise with members assigned to Project Devote, including other police agencies in other jurisdictions.