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Manitoba community mourns five people killed in Carman

17-year-old Myah-Lee Gratton (top left), two-and-half-month-old Isabella (middle top) 30-year-old Amanda Clearwater (bottom left), four-year-old Jayven (bottom middle) and six-year-old Bethany (right) were the five people killed in southern Manitoba on Feb. 11, 2024. (Source: Facebook. Uploaded Feb. 12, 2024.) 17-year-old Myah-Lee Gratton (top left), two-and-half-month-old Isabella (middle top) 30-year-old Amanda Clearwater (bottom left), four-year-old Jayven (bottom middle) and six-year-old Bethany (right) were the five people killed in southern Manitoba on Feb. 11, 2024. (Source: Facebook. Uploaded Feb. 12, 2024.)
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CARMAN, Man -

Mourners gathered in southern Manitoba on Wednesday to remember five family members killed in what police have called an unimaginable tragedy.

People were asked to wear purple to the funeral for Amanda Clearwater, her young children — Bethany, Jayven and Isabella Manoakeesick — and her teen niece Myah-Lee Gratton.

Police discovered their bodies on Feb. 11 at multiple crime scenes in and around Carman, Man., a town of 3,000 people southwest of Winnipeg.

Clearwater's common-law partner, Ryan Howard Manoakeesick, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

Clearwater was remembered as a woman who loved her children and enjoyed taking them on walks.

"She was 100 per cent family-oriented and saw the good in everyone. When she pulled you into her circle it did not matter if you weren't family, you became family," her online obituary read.

Six-year-old Bethany "had a passion for mermaids, and pink was her favourite colour," the obituary said.

Four-year-old Jayven "was the ultimate boy, playing with Spider-Man, playing with dinosaurs."

Isabella, two months old, "came into this world content as could be."

"She must have known that she was the final piece to Amanda’s puzzle. So, she chose to take it easy on Mom by being the gentle little princess of the family."

Gratton's mother, Juliette Hastings, has said the 17-year-old had been staying with Clearwater and Manoakeesick since last spring. She said Gratton was excited about getting tattoos for her upcoming birthday to commemorate her faith, siblings and family.

Gratton's obituary called her a caring person with a big heart. "Her laughter could be heard for miles, and would bring a smile to your face."

Court records show the accused was warned by a judge in 2019 to get his methamphetamine addiction under control or risk losing everything.

Manoakeesick was convicted of mischief and sentenced to 18 months' probation. Court heard he locked himself inside a detached garage in Winnipeg and struck the overhead door, causing significant damage.

The next day, court was told he went to a Tim Hortons restaurant and threw around glass coffee mugs. The prosecutor in the case said Manoakeesick was on meth at the time.

He has been remanded in custody on the murder charges and has a court date later this week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2024.

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