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DNA sample not enough to identify unknown victim of admitted serial killer Jeremy Skibicki: expert

Warning: This article contains ontent that may be disturbing to readers. Discretion is advised.

A forensic DNA expert called as a witness in the trial of admitted serial killer Jeremy Skibicki testified the DNA of his four victims was found in his apartment. Still, efforts to identify one of the victims were unsuccessful.

As Skibicki’s trial continued in Manitoba’s Court of King’s Bench Tuesday, Crown prosecutors called Florence Celestin, a forensic DNA specialist with the RCMP’s National Forensic Laboratory Services, as a witness.

She tested the DNA samples collected inside Skibicki’s apartment.

The 37-year-old accused has admitted he killed four Indigenous women: Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and a fourth unidentified woman. Indigenous leaders have given her the name Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe or Buffalo Woman.

Skibicki has pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder, his defence lawyers are arguing he should be found not criminally responsible due to mental illness.

Celestin testified the DNA of Contois, Harris, and Myran was found on items in Skibicki’s apartment – such as shoes, a combat knife, and swabs from his garbage bin.

However, Celestin said in more than 80 exhibits provided for DNA testing, only one had DNA from the unidentified victim – Buffalo Woman.

It was found on the collar of a reversible Baby Phat jacket, which police believe belonged to Buffalo Woman.

Skibicki later sold the woman’s jacket online which police retrieved from the buyer.

“From all up until then eighty-some exhibits, nothing else that you sampled came back to the (Buffalo Woman) sample. That sample that came from the Baby Phat jacket is the only (Buffalo Woman) sample,” Crown Prosecutor Chris Vanderhooft asked.

“Correct,” Celestin responded.

She spoke to the efforts made by police and the forensic DNA team to identify the sample, such as comparing it to the parents of missing persons and various DNA databases.

The court heard none of these efforts have revealed Buffalo Woman’s identity.

Celestin also identified several other unidentified female DNA profiles on the items in his apartment. However, the court heard that DNA testing cannot say how or when the DNA was left on the samples.

The trial continues Tuesday afternoon.

There is a support line available for those impacted by missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2S+ people: 1-844-413-6649.

The Hope for Wellness Hotline for Indigenous people, with support in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut, is also available 24/7 in Canada at 1-855-242-3310.

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