Winnipeg homicide police investigating 2nd death in 2 weeks within 1-block area of Point Douglas

The death of a person whose body was found after emergency crews responded to a fire in South Point Douglas Thursday morning is considered suspicious, Winnipeg police say.

Officers were called around 1 a.m. with a report of a suspicious fire around MacDonald Avenue and Gomez Street, an industrial area between Higgins Avenue and the Red River.

When they arrived, they found a body.

Fire crews extinguished the flames and members of the police forensics unit examined the scene.

An autopsy is pending, and the Winnipeg Police Service’s homicide unit has taken over the investigation.

It’s the second grisly discovery in the area in less than two weeks. Partial human remains were found on April 15, near Curtis Street and Higgins Avenue, about one block east of where the body was found on Thursday.

At the start of that investigation, Mattress Warehouse and More owner Sam Goel said he was contacted by Winnipeg police, who asked to see footage from the surveillance camera trained on the exterior of his store on MacDonald Avenue.

Because police still had his number from that investigation, an officer was able to send him a text on Thursday morning, informing him of the police presence in the area, Goel told CBC News.

“Once I got there, he walked me to my building and got me through the barricade area … [and] told me that there was a body,” he said, adding police once again asked to take a look at his surveillance footage.

Goel said his family’s business has been open at the same location for more than four decades. His own memories of the area go back to the mid-1990s, and he said he can’t recall anything in the immediate area as serious as one suspicious-death investigation, let alone two in such a short span.

“It’s scary,” he said. “We haven’t had any incidents like this for the years that we’ve been there. We’ve had some fights and stuff like that here and there, but nothing to this extreme, as far as I can recall.”

Police have not released any information about the age or sex of the person whose body was found or about the fire.

An email from police in response to CBC’s request for information said the investigation is ongoing, and no other information is available.

Police are asking anyone with information or video surveillance footage in the area to call 204-986-6508 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477 (TIPS).

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