The RCMP warned people Wednesday afternoon about a Portage la Prairie man wanted in a triple homicide who was last seen in downtown Winnipeg.
Officers have been searching for Trevis Mcleod, 50, who police consider dangerous.
According to the Mounties, he was most recently spotted at the Millennium Library and in the downtown Winnipeg skywalk system.
Mcleod is wanted on three counts of second-degree murder and arson after his family was found dead early Sunday in a fire-damaged duplex in Portage, a community located about 85 kilometres west of Winnipeg.
The three victims have been identified as a 32-year-old mother, her six-year-old daughter and three-year-old son. Police confirmed Wednesday they’re the wife and children of Mcleod.
“My heart’s broken for the family that was lost,” said Melanie Minaudier, who lives next to the family’s home in Portage. “It’s awful. It’s unimaginable. People are traumatized, people are afraid.”
Investigators warned everyone living or working in downtown Winnipeg Mcleod may be in the area.
Officers with both the RCMP and Winnipeg Police Service have been patrolling the downtown and believe Mcleod is on foot, with no bank card, cell phone or access to a vehicle.
The RCMP said he was last seen at the Millennium Library around 2:20 p.m. on Tuesday before he was spotted walking through the downtown Winnipeg skywalk.
“How that came about is he made a collect call to a witness who I can’t disclose at this time and the witness had called us and advised of where he was calling from,” said Supt. Rob Lasson, the officer in charge of Manitoba RCMP Major Crime Services. “Officers quickly rushed down there and we just missed him by a matter of a few minutes.”
“We were then able to collect surveillance video from around and near the payphones which identified that he was in that location.”
RCMP said Mcleod was also seen Monday on Magnus Avenue and in St. Boniface early Tuesday morning.
He was taken into custody Sunday after the fire and the homicides, but he was released under conditions he stay at an address in Portage and stay away from five people named in his release order.
“He was initially arrested for a number of incidents that happened after the murder but unfortunately in consultation with the Crown, the evidence we had at the time did not support enough to hold him custody and lay a charge,” Lasson said.
He said Mcleod didn’t abide by the court conditions. Investigators believe he got a ride to Winnipeg before police could make an arrest.
“As the investigation evolved, the grounds and evidence were secured to support that he was indeed responsible for the murders of his family in Portage,” Lasson said. “So RCMP at that time immediately began extensive attempts to locate and arrest him while the charges of second-degree murder and arson were laid in addition to an arrest warrant.”
Court records show Mcleod has previously been convicted of theft, impaired driving and disobeying court orders. He has three prior convictions for assault: one in May 2009, another in April 2015 and the most recent in April 2016. The court records show that was the last time he was charged with a criminal offence over the past six years up until now.
Todd Cuddington, superintendent of the Portage la Prairie School Division (PLPSD), said the 6-year-old girl was a student at one of the division’s schools.
“Over the past weekend there was a tragic event in Portage la Prairie that claimed the life of a PLPSD child, her little brother and mother,” Cuddington said in an email to CTV News Winnipeg. “The school division has initiated grief support for students and staff at the school where she attended. We are all terribly saddened by this senseless loss.”
Minaudier said while she didn’t know the family, she wanted to help.
She started a GoFundMe and is collecting donations for a family that lived next door to the victims, who lost everything in the fire.
“Just wanted to kind of do something to help them because I know how hard it’s been for us so I can’t imagine losing our home on top of it,” Minaudier said.
While police believe Mcleod is still in Winnipeg, they say it’s possible he may return to Portage.
The RCMP said while they don’t believe Mcleod has a weapon, that doesn’t mean he can’t obtain one.
Officers said if you see Mcleod, he shouldn’t be approached.
He was last seen wearing glasses, dressed in black clothing and carrying a black bag.
Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to immediately contact 911.
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