Family of woman found dead in a field outside Winnipeg call for fuller investigation

The family of a First Nations woman found dead in a farmer’s field last week just outside of Winnipeg want to know how she ended up there, and are pushing RCMP for a more thorough investigation.

RCMP say they don’t believe the death of 53-year-old Lori Ann Mancheese, whose body was found on June 6, was suspicious. 

But her sister Norma says Lori Ann suffered from arthritis, and questions how she could have ended up in the middle of a field. 

“This is very disturbing. My sister could never have walked that far.”

Norma Mancheese says she last spoke with her sister in mid-May. She says she wants answers about how she died. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Dozens of people from Lori Ann’s home community of Ebb and Flow First Nation gathered on the side of Highway 8 in West Saint Paul to mark the location where her body was found, and to hold a vigil. 

With a white cross in hand, and photos of Mancheese, members of Ebb and Flow walked through the field and did what they think police failed to do: a proper search of the grounds.

Members of Ebb and Flow First Nation, Lori Ann Mancheese’s home community, marked with a cross the spot where she was found. (Travis Golby/CBC)

On Thursday, members of Ebb and Flow First Nation combed through the field where Lori Ann Mancheese was found looking for clues that could identify how she died. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Norma says she last heard from her sister on May 19, when Lori Ann was discharged from St. Boniface Hospital. 

“Then I never heard from her after. I waited, waited, waited. Everybody asked me, ‘Did Lori Ann call?'” she said.

Lori Ann would go back and forth between Ebb and Flow and Winnipeg, because she couldn’t find permanent housing, Norma said.

“Our housing is limited. Chief and council do their best, but there’s sometimes three to five families living in a home,” she said. 

She was hoping Lori Ann would show up, but that wasn’t the case.

“The other day we were sitting around at home. We were saying, maybe she’ll just walk in and say, ‘See I got you,'” Norma said.

“That’s the way she was. She was full of dynamite, I’ll tell you that.”

The remains of Lori Ann Mancheese were found in a field last week. Her family wants to know how she got there because she had mobility issues. (Submitted by Eugenia Houle)

Earlier this week, RCMP said the results of Mancheese’s autopsy are pending. They are continuing to investigate the circumstances of her death, but at this point in the investigation, RCMP said Mancheese’s death appears to be non-criminal in nature.

NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine, the Opposition’s justice critic, said she questions how that could be possible. 

“You just don’t go out for a walk in the periphery of the city when you have mobility issues and you’re unsheltered and then find yourself somewhere in a random field,” she said.

“It certainly does beg the question, again, how did she get here? And you know was she brought here?”

Since learning of Lori Ann’s death, information from investigators has been scarce, Norma said. The family is considering hiring its own lawyer to help push for a more thorough investigation.

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