WINNIPEG — The discovery of a second body on an Ethelbert property has left the tiny community of 300 in an even deeper shock, Mayor Mitch Michaluk said Monday night.
"People are uncertain, shocked, they just don’t know how it happened. We’re not immune — why us?" Michaluk said.
While there is widespread speculation of the identities of the two people, RCMP have not publicly named the woman in her 70s found dead in a house Saturday, or an adult male found dead on the property Monday.
"Her identity, while suspected, has not been confirmed," Sgt. Line Karpish said Monday. "During the course of the investigation, a search of the property grounds resulted in officers discovering the deceased body of an adult male individual. His identity has yet to be confirmed. "The cause of his death remains unknown until autopsy results are obtained," Karpish said. "However, the death is being treated as suspicious at the present time."
Karpish said autopsies were to be carried out in Winnipeg, but results were not yet available.
Michaluk said he only heard around 6 p.m. Monday that police had found a second body.
The house backs onto the Fork River, the mayor said. "It’s not a large property. There’s a river that runs behind it, the Fork River. There’s bush there."
Michaluk said that police have not told residents anything about their investigation and until people hear more, they fear for their safety.
"Citizens are phoning me and expecting me to have the answers, and I don’t. They’re concerned, they’re worried," said Michaluk.
The mayor could not recall anything similar having happened in the community north of Dauphin.
Neighbours of the victim said the deceased is Elsie Steppa and she moved from Toronto in the mid-1990s.
They said Steppa lived with her nephew, Harry Jones, who is in his mid-40s, and multiple dogs and cats.
Neighbours say she kept to herself.
Nadia Pelechaty, a neighbour who lives two doors down from Steppa, said she and a friend grew suspicious when they noticed smoke was no longer coming from Steppa’s chimney.
Pelechaty said they checked with a local store and an employee there confirmed they hadn’t seen Steppa in "a long time." Pelechaty said they informed Michaluk, who called police.
"It makes me very scared because this is a small town and there is never crime here. I keep watching police come and go from her house. I’m very upset by this," Pelechaty said Sunday.
Residents said on Sunday that the whereabouts of Jones were unknown.
» Winnipeg Free Press
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 22, 2013