Man found dead in Portage la Prairie homicide remembered as 'very kind-hearted' husband and father
WINNIPEG -- The RCMP has zeroed in on the charred debris of a home in Winnipeg’s North End officers believe may be connected to Gerhard Reimer-Wiebe’s death, which the Mounties are investigating as a homicide.
Investigators with RCMP Major Crime Services have identified a home on Alfred Ave. they believe may be linked. Police said the home burned in a fire on Jun. 20 and was demolished for safety reasons.
"We believe that it was an arson, and that this arson is linked to the murder," RCMP Superintendent Michael Koppang, the officer in charge of Manitoba RCMP Major Crime Services, told media on Tuesday.
"Further, we believe this home contains physical evidence related to our homicide investigation."
Investigators with RCMP Major Crime Services sift through the debris of a burned down home on Alfred Avenue that may be linked to a homicide investigation. (Source: Josh Crabb/ CTV News Winnipeg)
Reimer-Wiebe, 27, of Steinbach, Man. was known to some as George. He was found dead near Baker Street in Portage la Prairie on the night of Jun. 24. A homeowner told CTV News last month he found human remains near his garden.
Investigators have previously said they believe his body was placed there on Jun. 20 sometime between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Koppang said officers with Major Crime Services and Forensic Identification Services will be on Alfred Ave. over the next three days, removing all the debris from the residence.
The debris will then be taken to a secure RCMP warehouse where forensic experts will sift through 'every fragment' as they search for evidence, Koppang said.
After releasing a description of the victim and putting out a plea for information last week, the RCMP on Monday identified Reimer-Wiebe as the man whose remains were found. Officers released the man’s identity in an effort to help them trace Reimer-Wiebe’s activities between May 15 and Jun.20.
FAMILY OF REIMER-WIEBE 'DEVASTATED'
Terry Thiessen, a pastor and director of community with Adult and Teen Challenge – a 12-month Christian-based, residential program aimed at helping people living with addiction – told CTV News Tuesday Reimer-Wiebe had recently finished the program.
Thiessen confirmed Reimer-Wiebe had a wife and kids and that he’s working to help his family any way he can. RCMP also confirmed Reimer-Wiebe has a three-year-old son, a two-year-old daughter, and extended family in Canada and Bolivia.
“They’re really devastated right now, as you can imagine,” said Thiessen, who described Reimer-Wiebe as “very kind-hearted” and “very considerate of others.”
“I can recall anecdotes of him wanting to help other people in trouble,” said Thiessen. “We’re really shocked and saddened right now.”
RCMP LOOKING FOR MORE TIPS ON VICTIM'S ACTIVITIES
Last Wednesday, RCMP released additional information about the case, adding they were looking to identify four people spotted on a surveillance camera at a Portage la Prairie business who were believed to have information that could help with the investigation.
RCMP said Friday they are no longer looking for tips to identify the four people in the surveillance video.
"This case has had a lot of public involvement with over 250 tips received so far," Koppang said. "These tips have propelled the investigation forward, and we continue to ask the public for help."
Koppang said anyone who may have seen Reimer-Wiebe in the area of Alfred Street, or may know something about his activities between May 15 and June 20, 2020 is asked to call the RCMP major crimes tip line at 431-489-8551.
"I can tell you with confidence that it is progressing rapidly and today is another significant step towards finding the truth about what happened to Gerhard," Koppang said.