Police release pictures of woman whose body was found in Calgary alley

Police have released pictures of a woman whose body was found earlier this year in a waste container in a southeast Calgary alley as they try to find out how she came to be there.

The body of 35-year-old Tara Niptanatiak was discovered on Feb. 25 in the 700 block of 24th Avenue S.E. in the community of Ramsay.

An autopsy determined she didn’t die under suspicious circumstances, but investigators are still looking for anyone who has information about how she ended up in the waste container.

In May, Niptanatiak’s family told CBC News that they found out about her death weeks after the fact due to her name being misspelled on official documents. 

She was buried just outside Calgary in a municipal graveyard on the outskirts of southeast Calgary and under a plastic sign with the wrong name — “Tara Niptangtuk.”

Her family has been trying to bring her remains to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, where she lived as a child, for a proper funeral and burial.

“Throughout all of this, the not knowing, the unanswered questions, the complete heartache of knowing she’s been buried before we found out all I could think of is my big sister, the woman who protected me from everything she could,” said Niptanatiak’s sister, Rolonda Niptanatiak, in a release. 

“She was the most beautiful person, not just the way she looked but her heart. She was so kind and full of life.”

Police say they’ve looked at hundreds of hours of CCTV and it’s believed Niptanatiak did not enter the alley on her own and might have been put there using a vehicle or other means not seen on CCTV. 

Investigators are trying to determine who she was with and where she was before her body was found.

Niptanatiak’s family gave permission for police to release photos of her in hopes of encouraging anyone with information to come forward.

“We know there are people out there who know what happened to Tara and we want to speak with them,” said Homicide Unit Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta.

At the time of her death, she had short, dark hair, was wearing dark clothing with a North Face winter jacket, and had a red sleeping bag in her possession. 

Before she died, Niptanatiak was known to frequent shelters in the Calgary area. 

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call police at 403-266-1234 or contact Crime Stoppers. 

Investigators are trying to determine who Niptanatiak was with and where she was before her body was found on Feb. 25 in Ramsay. (Calgary Police Service)

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