While the family of Cliff Malnyk mourns the death of the Bloodvein First Nation man, they're thankful the victim's daughter survived an attack by his alleged killers.
Malnyk's body was found inside a burned-out home around 2:30 a.m. Saturday in the community on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.
RCMP say the death is being investigated as a homicide.
On Monday, an RCMP spokesman couldn't say whether any arrests had been made.
Family members have confirmed the victim was Malnyk, 52, who is survived by four children and seven grandchildren.
'Two boys ran out, the last one holding a sword. He started swinging it at me, maybe five or six times. The other guy was yelling, Kill her, kill her ' -- Melanie Bushie, 22
His daughter, Melanie Bushie, 22, told the Free Press she drove to her dad's home well after midnight and was shocked to see his prized 2011 Ford pickup stuck in a snowbank across the street.
The home's outside lights weren't on, either.
"He always kept his lights on," said Bushie. "I knew there was something going on."
Bushie said she pulled into the driveway, parked her vehicle so the headlights illuminated the front of the house, went to the front door and started knocking.
"I was banging on the door, screaming for my dad to answer," she said.
The door flew open, but it wasn't her father answering, and she could see thick black smoke inside the house.
"Two boys ran out, the last one holding a sword," said Bushie. "He started swinging it at me, maybe five or six times. The other guy was yelling, 'Kill her, kill her.'
"I ran to my truck and jumped in. The guy was chasing me. I locked the doors but he broke the windows. I drove off, straight to the RCMP. I was honking my horn and screaming, 'Go see my dad.' "
Bushie suffered a deep gash in her head and bruised, bloodied hands from blocking the blows from her attackers. While she was being treated at the local nursing station, her brother-in-law, Jacob Crate, came with news her father was found dead inside the home.
Once the fire was put out, he went inside with a flashlight and found Malnyk's body.
Crate said he and the rest of the family are relieved Bushie didn't suffer the same fate.
"We're just so glad she's alive," he said. "We're glad she got away and got to the RCMP. She was getting hit by a sword. They must have missed her a couple of times or it was a dull blade."
Bushie said she's devastated by the loss of her father and tormented by the violent assault she had to endure.
"I can't stop thinking about it, playing it over in my mind," she said. "Getting hit over the head, blood waterfalling over my face. But I didn't feel any pain. I was just so worried about my dad."
Originally from Winnipeg, Malnyk lived in Bloodvein for 26 years after meeting and marrying Bushie's mother. The couple split, but he stayed in the community to be near his daughters and held several jobs, including band constable before an RCMP detachment was set up.
He also drove the sewage truck and was the community fire chief for a time.
Bushie said her father was a very popular person in the community.
"He was always happy, always helping people," she said. "Everybody loved him. He laughed a lot and loved being teased. He loved his family... he could make my little four-month-old daughter smile every time."