The Crown began presenting its arguments Thursday in the murder trial for the death of Candace Derksen, 13, arguing she was tied up and left to die in the cold.

Mark Edward Grant faces a charge for first-degree murder in the case, which dates back to November 1984.

The Crown said Grant tied Derksen's wrists and ankles with twine and left her in the cold.

Grant's DNA was found on the twine and seven of his hairs were found at the scene, said the Crown.

The Crown said Derksen died from exposure after temperatures dropped to -25.

"Because she died in the course of being forcibly confined, we say this is first-degree murder," said Crown attorney Mike Himmelman.

Retired Winnipeg police Sgt. Ronald Allen, a former identification officer who photographed the scene when Derksen was found, was the first witness to take the stand.

"(Candace's) arms were bound behind her back and tied at her ankles," testified Allen.

During cross examination, defence lawyer Saul Simmonds said the crime scene could have been contaminated and argued DNA preservation at the time of Derksen's death is not at the level it is today.

Allen testified police didn't wear protective masks or coveralls at the time, and evidence, including the twine, was not put in protective bags.

Candace's relatives were in the court room to hear details of the case.

"It's just very stark. It's laid out there, cold and harsh, so it's bringing Candace back to us in a very different way," said Cliff Derksen, Candace's father.

Derksen vanished while walking home from school in November of 1984.

For more than a month, hundreds of people searched the Elmwood neighbourhood where she was last seen.

Her disappearance made headlines around the world.

Seven weeks later, her body was discovered bound and frozen in a shed less than a kilometre from her home.

For years, her murder went unsolved. In 2006, Winnipeg police's newly formed cold-case unit gave the investigation a fresh look and in May 2007, Grant was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Grant, 45, has pleaded not guilty.

- with a report from CTV's Stacey Ashley