Youth charged with first degree murder in Choiceland, Sask., Death of woman
RCMP charged a youth with first degree murder in the death of a woman in Choiceland, Sask., Last week.
On Friday, RCMP announced that an unidentified 37-year-old woman had been pronounced dead in a town house and another person, also unidentified, had been taken into police custody.
In an update provided Monday morning, the RCMP said after an investigation a youth was charged with one count of first degree murder in connection with the incident.
Due to the age of the accused, he cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The RCMP still have not publicly identified the victim either.
Monday’s update came shortly before the youngster was due to appear in court for the first time, by phone.
The case was adjourned until Thursday.
Rob Mardell, the mayor of Choiceland, said the community is only about 350 residents and he knows the families affected by the alleged murder.
“I went to see the family to see if there was anything the community could do for them,” Mardell said Friday. “And they said they already had a counselor coming. I offered them my condolences and said if there was anything the community could do for them, let me know.”
WATCH | Choiceland Mayor Rob Mardell talks about the tragedy in his community:
Mardell said all of Choiceland’s parents and grandparents know all of the kids in town.
“When a tragedy like this happens, it affects everyone.”
Mardell has served as the mayor of Choiceland for over a decade. This is not the first tragedy the city has had to overcome in recent years, he said.
In November 2016, seven-year-old Nia Eastman was reported missing after her father failed to drop her off as scheduled at her mother’s home in Choiceland.
The girl’s body was found in a house in the community. The RCMP later said the autopsy results confirmed that she was the victim of an apparent murder-suicide by her father, Adam Jay Eastman.
“This community has seen tragedy before, and we use everyone to come together and build on each other as much as we can,” Mardell said.
“I hope that over time we can overcome this event as well.”
Aaron Fox, the defense attorney who represented Randan Fontaine, the 17-year-old who committed the 2016 school shooting in La Loche, Sask., Said murder cases involving suspected young offenders do not are no different in how the RCMP approaches the investigation.
“They will always try to gather as much information as possible about what happened and the people involved. Definitely the background of the young people, history, relationships, things like intellectual abilities, alcohol or drugs involved – all the usual things, ”Fox says.
While an accused may be charged with first degree murder initially, the charge could change as new evidence is gathered, Fox said.
“It’s something that would be evaluated and reassessed,” he said.
Another tragedy in a small town like Choiceland is fortuitous and “a blow for sure,” Fox said.
“It’s horrible no matter where it is happening,” he said.