Police deem Simone Sanderson's death homicide day after vigil held in her name
Winnipeg police have deemed the death of a woman found behind a North End business a homicide. Police confirmed Wednesday afternoon that 23-year-old Simone Sanderson was murdered.
The confirmation comes on the heels of a vigil held for the woman.
Family and friends of Simone gathered at a church on Manitoba Avenue Tuesday night.
Simone's body was found near Main Street and Burrows Avenue on the afternoon of Sept. 2.
The 23 year old had been missing since Aug. 26.
About 100 people attended the emotional vigil Wednesday. Guests went from the church to the area at Main and Burrows where Simone was found. Many left notes and flowers.
Simone’s grandmother, Betty-Ann, said the young mom leaves behind a two-year-old son. At the time of her death, Simone was fighting with the department of child and family services to regain custody of him.
“CFS was in – took her baby away from her and then that’s when everything fell apart,” said Betty-Ann. “She was always lonely for him. She was always crying for him, and it really hurt her when they took that little boy away from her.”
Betty-Ann said she is still waiting for answers about how her granddaughter died.
Police said the homicide unit is currently investigating Simone’s death. They haven’t confirmed if foul play was involved but did say her death was suspicious. Police said they are waiting for the results of an autopsy.
Regardless of how Simone died, Grand Chief Derek Nepinak said the death of yet another aboriginal woman in the province underlines the need for a public inquiry.
“There’s a bigger problem that we need to address and that’s why I continue to push it,” said Nepinak.
Nepinak said a public inquiry should examine the social factors that have led many aboriginal women down a path that ended with their deaths.
“I think an inquiry would promote a public dialogue,” said Nepinak. “It would help society address that there is something going on here.”
Winnipeg police continue to investigate dozens of other missing and murdered women cases. Police Chief Keith McCaskill is expected to provide an update on those investigations Thursday, in a report to the city’s protection committee.
Police are asking anyone with information about Simone's murder to call investigators at 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477.