CARMAN, Manitoba (AP) — A Canadian man has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his wife, three young children and a 17-year-old relative, authorities said Monday.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Insp. Tim Arseneault said Ryan Howard Manoakeesick, 29, was charged and the dead were the suspect’s 30-year-old wife, as well as the suspect’s 6-year-old daughter, 4-year-old son and 2-month-old daughter. of the couple. as well as the wife’s niece, aged 17.
The five men died Sunday at several crime scenes in and around the town of Carman, 85 kilometers (53 miles) southwest of Winnipeg.
Police responded to a hit-and-run and found the woman dead in a ditch Sunday morning.
More than two hours later and 70 kilometers (44 miles) to the north, police were called to reports of a vehicle on fire and found the children outside the car.
The children were pronounced dead at the scene and police arrested Manoakeesick of Carman while the teen’s body was later found at a home in Carman.
Police said autopsies were underway and declined to provide further details as the investigation continues.
In Carman, police tape blocked off the front and back yards of the family’s small white bungalow, while forensic teams could be seen entering and exiting. Police vehicles were parked outside.
Children’s toys and a bicycle were scattered across the back lawn.
“It’s a dark time in Manitoba,” Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew said at the news conference.
Randy McFarlane, who lives a few houses down, said the house was a rental property. The family had lived in the house in a quiet neighborhood for more than a year, he said.
“You never hear anything like this here and you wouldn’t expect it to be anywhere near it,” McFarlane said.
The children were playing in the yard, McFarlane said, and he never had any interaction with the mother. Every once in a while, he would hear her yelling into a cell phone and say something “didn’t seem right.”
Carman Mayor Brent Owen said the entire community has been affected by the tragedy. He did not know the victims personally, although he knew about 80 percent of the town’s residents.
“It’s absolutely horrible,” he said.
The Prairie Rose School Division said crisis response teams have been established for Carman Collegiate Elementary School and Carman School.
Police continue to work to determine how the deaths occurred, Arseneault said, adding that autopsies are planned.
“Innocent young lives were lost yesterday and we grieve with all Manitobans,” Arseneault said.
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