The investigation into a months-old murder is turning to DNA evidence to solve the crime.
11-year-old Teresa Robinson was found dead May 11, 2015 on Garden Hill First Nation. RCMP have now started gathering voluntary DNA samples from males on the reserve between the ages of 15 and 66, which could total 2,000 samples.
“It’s definitely not a convention way, what we’re undertaking to solve this crime,” Sergeant Bert Paquet explains. “But our officers always think outside the box, specifically a homicide of this nature.”
Community officials first believed Robinson may have been mauled by a bear, but just days later Mounties officially called it a homicide investigation. Paquet says they’ve turned to DNA evidence in the hopes of exhausting every resource and bringing closure to the community.
“Everybody is welcoming this initiative. We’re not doing this in one step, there will be several visits to Garden Hill. The family, the community, the leaders have been supportive, have been welcoming the officers.”
The RCMP hopes they can process the samples as soon as possible, but Paquet admits they don’t have a firm timeline for this unprecedented tactic.
“We’ve engaged the lab, they are aware of this initiative. They’re definitely on board, we’re hoping to get results soon, but this is not a sprint, this is a marathon. We want to make sure we win the race.”
Paquet says that these samples will be used for this investigation only, and the men and boys on Garden Hill are told of this before being asked to give a sample.