Skip to main content

Manitoba man accused in killings of five family members had previous criminal record


Three years before Ryan Manoakeesick was charged in connection with allegedly killing five members of his family, he was warned by a Manitoba judge he was at risk of losing everything.

“You need serious help,” provincial court Judge Kelly Moar said at a July 2019 court date.

“At the end of the day if you don’t do something, it’s going to cost you your family.”

Monday, RCMP charged Manoakeesick with five counts of first-degree murder in connection with a string of tragic deaths over the weekend.

RCMP say a 30-year-old woman, who was living common-law with the suspect, was found dead on Sunday along a Manitoba highway a few kilometres outside Carman, Man.

Hours later, police were called to a vehicle on fire on a provincial road near St. Eustache, Man. They say three children were pulled by the suspect from a burning vehicle, but were pronounced dead at the scene. A suspect was arrested.

A fifth victim, the family’s 17-year-old niece, was later found dead at a home in Carman.

A family friend confirmed to CTV News Winnipeg the five family members were 30-year-old Amanda Clearwater, six-year-old Bethany, four-year-old Jayven, two-and-a-half-month-old Isabella and 17-year-old Myah-Lee Gratton.

None of the charges have been tested in court. Manoakeesick’s next court date is scheduled for Feb. 23.

Court records show the man accused in this string of killings was previously charged in 2019 with mischief to property under $5,000.

He pled guilty.

Court heard a then 25-year-old Manoakeesick was under the influence of methamphetamine when he went into a garage at a home in Elmwood. He accidentally got locked inside, the Crown said, and he began striking and damaging the door causing significant damage.

The Crown said police were called. They detained him and took him to Health Sciences Centre. He was released later that day and by evening, he was found by police at a Portage Avenue Tim Hortons. Court heard he tried to order food from staff, and then told them to call police.

He then started throwing glass mugs at an electronic display menu. Staff members locked themselves in an office and called 911.

He was arrested again, the Crown said.

At a court appearance for the charge, Manoakeesick’s lawyer Matthew Munce said his client dealt with anxiety and depression.

Manoakeesick told court he lived in Carman, Man. with his common-law partner Amanda Clearwater and their two children.

Manoakeesick said he was previously employed as a plastic pipe manufacturer but had been out of work for months to seek mental health care.

He was given a conditional discharge of 18 months of supervised probation. He was also ordered to undergo addictions and mental health assessments.

Manoakeesick was charged again on Sept. 11, 2021, with two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

Court heard he was driving on Highway 3 when his vehicle collided with a van carrying nine people, some of them children who were uninjured.

One of the passengers suffered a separated shoulder, Crown prosecutor Jenna Robinson said.

Manoakeesick was arrested and released on a summons to appear. A trial date was set for August 2023, but Manoakeesick’s lawyer reported he had lost contact with him, and an arrest warrant was issued.

He was taken into custody in July and released on bail days later. The Crown opposed the move given that Manoakeesick had previously lost contact with his lawyer.

During the appearance, Manoakeesick’s lawyer alluded to his client’s mental health struggles, saying he was on permanent disability as a result, but was told his client was doing much better.

Manoakeesick was released on $1,000 bail with his mother-in-law named as a surety.

- With files from CTV’s Danton Unger, Joseph Bernacki and Kayla Rosen Top Stories

Stay Connected