Man charged with manslaughter in death of Eduardo Balaquit
WINNIPEG -- A 35-year-old man has been charged with manslaughter in connection to the disappearance and death of Eduardo Balaquit.
Balaquit, 59, has been missing since June 4, 2018. At the time of his disappearance, he was working at a business in the 300 block of Keewatin Street.
Winnipeg police officers determined that Balaquit was the victim of a crime, and the homicide unit began to investigate.
During the investigation, officers found Balaquit’s van with the passenger window smashed and his belongings still inside. The investigation ended up expanding beyond Winnipeg, and more specifically into Arborg, Man.
Now, nearly three years after his disappearance, Winnipeg detectives, along with the help of police in Saskatoon, made an arrest and charged a suspect.
On March 23, officers arrested Kyle Alexander James Pietz in Saskatoon on the strength of a warrant of arrest for manslaughter. He is in custody.
The charge has not been proven in court.
At the time of the incident in 2018, Pietz was a Winnipeg resident.
Sgt. Wade McDonald of the Winnipeg Police Service’s homicide unit said Pietz became a person of interest early on in the investigation, noting, “He was a former employee of where Mr. Balaquit worked.”
Balaquit’s body has not been found. Officers believe there is someone who could provide information about Balaquit’s whereabouts and ask them to contact the homicide unit to help give his family some closure.
McDonald could not provide many details regarding how police charged the suspect with manslaughter, despite the fact that Balaquit’s body has not been found.
“This has been a lengthy and complex investigation,” McDonald said at a news conference on Thursday.
“Over time, a period of three years, the investigation has evolved, and where Manitoba Justice has reviewed the investigation and authorized the charge of manslaughter.
Police did not provide any information regarding what they believe is the motive for the homicide or the nature of what happened.
“What I can say about Eduardo is Eduardo was a hardworking man, he worked several jobs here in the city,” McDonald said.
“He worked at this business for a number of years and had just gone to work and then never returned home.”
CTV News Winnipeg has learned Pietz previously lived at a home in Winnipeg’s West End. A neighbour who said he has known him since 2015, who asked not to be identified, said Pietz lived at the home with a woman and their two young daughters.
The neighbour said Pietz and his family moved to Saskatoon some time between six months and one year after Balaquit’s disappearance.
The neighbour said he always got along with Pietz and has continued looking after his home. The neighbour said he met Pietz in Moosomin after the family moved to bring them some of their belongings from the house.
“When they moved to Saskatoon they asked if I can meet him up in Moosomin so they can have the stuff,” the neighbour said. “Kids toys, kids clothes.”
The neighbour said he saw police outside Pietz’s home around the same time Balaquit was reported missing.
The neighbour said he was surprised to hear of the arrest.
His last contact with Pietz was last month when they exchanged text messages. They texted about the stock market and politics, he said.
The neighbour said he followed the Balaquit investigation in the news and understands the impact his disappearance has had on Winnipeg’s tight-knit Filipino community which he is a part of.
Anyone with information that could help in the investigation is asked to call 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477.
- With files from CTV's Josh Crabb.