A troubled remote Manitoba First Nation has been flooded with RCMP officers after a bloody weekend in which two people were slain, allegedly by the same gang-linked teenager.
More than 20 officers took over the Bloodvein First Nation band office as they continued to probe the death early Saturday of Cliff Malnyk, 52, and the fatal stabbing of Timothy Goosehead, 31, outside a reserve home Monday.
Normally, two Mounties are assigned to the community, located about 200 kilometres north of Winnipeg on the east shore of Lake Winnipeg on the Bloodvein River.
POPULATION: 1,040 people on reserve, plus 640 who live off reserve.
ACCESS: Traditionally, only by plane or boat in the summer and ice road in the winter. This fall, as part of the road construction project on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, Bloodvein is expected to have access to an all-weather road and bridge that links it to Winnipeg and beyond for the first time.
TREATY: Treaty Five, which covers most of northern Manitoba.
FEDERAL FUNDING: $6.8 million in 2012-13 for health, housing, education, infrastructure, social assistance and governance.
EDUCATION: 60 per cent of adults have no high school diploma or post-secondary degree.
AVERAGE INCOME: $14,900 among those 15 years or older.
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 27 per cent.
HOUSING: 60 per cent of homes require major repairs.
FUTURE: Bloodvein is part of the Pimachiowin Aki project that hopes to turn the east-side boreal forest into a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
-- source: Statistics Canada, Aboriginal and Northern Development Canada
A 17-year-old youth has been charged with second-degree murder in each killing. He has been flown to Winnipeg and is in custody at the Manitoba Youth Centre pending a potential bail hearing. A 15-year-old boy is also in custody, accused of assault with a weapon in the Malnyk homicide.
The RCMP released few details on the violence in the community but acknowledged arrests have been made.
Goosehead was stabbed multiple times, police said.
"The families think Tim Goosehead was targeted and Cliff was theft," a community source told the Free Press. "They tried stealing his (Malnyk's) truck and were looking for alcohol."
Malnyk's body was found inside his burned-out home around 2:30 a.m. Saturday. His daughter, Melanie Bushie, 22, was attacked when she went to her dad's home after midnight. It was on fire at the time.
As she pounded on the door, two males ran out, with one swinging what she described as a sword. She was wounded but able to get away in her truck and go for help.
The murder suspect's family tried to hide him from police, the source said. It's believed they were searching for him when the second killing occurred.
The RCMP were trying to prevent possible vigilante justice breaking out in the small community of about 1,000 people and appeared to be doing a "good job" at it, the source added.
Goosehead was just released from provincial jail Jan. 27 after spending 303 days behind bars for assaulting a Bloodvein woman in March 2013.
The victim of that attack is said to be a relative of the teen suspect now accused of killing him.
The RCMP would only say Goosehead and the suspect knew each other. Goosehead had a lengthy criminal history including violent acts against women and children.
His father was killed in Bloodvein in 1987 and his nephew beaten to death in 2009, the community source said.
Goosehead's alleged killer was out on bail on breach-of-conditions charges and was being supervised by Manitoba's Intensive Support and Supervision Program (ISSP), court records show. The ISSP is the most stringent monitoring for youth available in the province. The youth is affiliated with the Native Syndicate street gang, sources said.
Bloodvein Chief Roland Hamilton pointed to poor parenting, a lack of police resources and the presence of alcohol in his community as likely causes of the recent outburst of violence.
"Parents need to step up and start looking after their kids. These things are happening at three, four, five in the morning," he said.
"I don't know why these young people are out."
In recent months, the local RCMP detachment has been operating with just two officers, down from a usual complement of four, Hamilton said.
"They can't do very much to police the community (with the current complement)," he said.
"They can't be up and awake for 24 hours." A sizable part of Bloodvein's crime problem involves unsupervised youth who wander the community, often intoxicated.
Last year, Bloodvein had a series of major arsons, rattling many residents. As of June, police had been called to six confirmed arsons. In 2012, they investigated eight intentionally set fires.
One case involved a 12-year-old girl who torched a family's home while she was out on bail for a separate arson.
Another case involved a 14-year-old girl who admitted she set a fire in a vacant home out of boredom. That blaze was so intense it burned a main utility line, leaving many in the community without electricity or telephone service for days.
-- with files from Jason Bell