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Alleged serial killer went to Winnipeg homeless shelters ‘looking for the absolute most vulnerable’: friend

Alleged serial killer went to Winnipeg homeless shelters ‘looking for the absolute most vulnerable’: friend

WARNING: This story accommodates distressing particulars.

Alleged serial killer Jeremy Skibicki frequented soup kitchens and homeless shelters in Winnipeg’s internal metropolis, assembly ladies whom he would take house to his residence, based on quite a few sources.

The 35-year-old is charged with first-degree homicide within the deaths of Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, Rebecca Contois and a fourth girl who, till she is recognized, has been given the title Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Lady. 

Skibicki’s lawyer says his consumer intends to plead not responsible on all counts.

The three recognized ladies — Harris, Myran and Contois — used shelters on and round Important Avenue, sources who work in and use shelters informed CBC Information. 

They are saying they consider Skibicki was preying on weak ladies at these shelters. 

Cora Morgan, the First Nations household advocate with the Meeting of Manitoba Chiefs, says it’s well-known amongst employees in Winnipeg shelters that Skibicki accessed quite a lot of shelters and met ladies there.

Cora Morgan, the First Nations household advocate with the Meeting of Manitoba Chiefs, speaks for N’Dinawemak, a South Level Douglas shelter. Skibicki was identified to frequent the shelter, she says. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

He was identified to frequent N’Dinawemak, a 24/7 warming house and shelter within the South Level Douglas space, based on Morgan. Police visited that Disraeli Freeway shelter searching for him earlier this yr, she stated.

“Folks shouldn’t have the flexibility to prey on our ladies, or our folks on the whole,” she stated.

“While you take a look at our inhabitants of those who we serve, they’re very weak. They don’t have what the remainder of Manitobans have or Canadians have,” stated Morgan, who speaks on behalf of the Indigenous-led N’Dinawemak.

Workers additionally knew the ladies, she stated.

“While you lose those who you take care of it’s very tough, and it’s onerous to maintain doing it day after day, when the bigger-picture issues aren’t taking place to vary folks’s realities.”

‘No person’s paying consideration’

Some folks utilizing shelter providers additionally say they seen Skibicki.

One man stated he ate meals with Skibicki at N’Dinawemak over a two- to three-month interval earlier this yr.

He stated he commonly ate lunch and breakfast with Skibicki, who was generally known as somebody who ate meals at varied homeless shelters regardless of having a spot of his personal, the person stated. 

A man in a light green jacket, black toque and blue medical face mask stands outside on a snowy sidewalk next to a woman wearing a brown coat and a fur hat.
The person on the left says he used to eat meals beside Jeremy Skibicki at N’Dinawemak. Ruth Roulette, proper, who additionally makes use of N’Dinawemak’s providers, described Marcedes Myran as a very good buddy. (Erin Brohman/CBC)

“I used to be speechless” after discovering out about Skibicki’s arrest, stated the person. CBC shouldn’t be naming him as a result of he doesn’t need his household to know he’s dwelling homeless.

“It was very disheartening.”

He stated he believes the ladies seemingly went house with Skibicki out of desperation for shelter, medicine or heat.

“However the issue is there’s no recourse. There’s no person watching,” he stated.

One other one who additionally makes use of N’Dinawemak stated Myran, Contois and Harris frequented that shelter and others within the space for meals and a heat place to sleep at night time. 

She described Myran as a very good buddy.

“I used to be looking for fairly a couple of of them earlier than [police] discovered them,” stated Ruth Roulette.

Usually, homeless ladies find out about potential predators, however “no person’s taking note of something we’re saying,” she stated.

A close-up of a photograph of a smiling young woman, which sits on top of a coil-bound notebook with a brightly coloured cover.
Police say Marcedes Myran, 26, was killed in early Might. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Skibicki met his now-estranged spouse, who’s Métis, at Siloam Mission in February 2018, based on the girl’s mom.

CBC shouldn’t be naming the girl, or her mom, as a result of she is a sufferer of abuse. 

The mom stated homeless shelters are utilized by probably the most weak ladies in society, like her daughter was on the time.

“They’re nothing however a predator’s playground,” the mom stated. “There’s no safety for these ladies in these locations.”

‘Predatory behaviour’ 

CBC spoke with a buddy of Skibicki’s, who hung out with him on the McKay Avenue residence Skibicki moved into in October 2021, and the place he lived till his arrest on Might 18, 2022.

The person stated throughout that point, Skibicki would take the bus each day to N’Dinawemak for breakfast and lunch, and would typically go to Siloam Mission for dinner.

Skibicki didn’t personal a automobile and didn’t have a job. His lease was coated by employment and revenue help, stated the person, whom CBC shouldn’t be figuring out as a result of he fears retribution for talking publicly.

In the course of the time Skibicki lived on the residence, the person noticed about half a dozen ladies he believes had been Indigenous come and go, although Skibicki informed him he’d had no less than 30 ladies stick with him for various durations of time. 

The supply stated he didn’t perceive the dynamic between Skibicki and the ladies he had over. 

The ladies had been typically carrying luggage with what seemed to be clothes and different belongings, he stated. He’d additionally typically see drug paraphernalia in Skibicki’s residence after the ladies left.

alleged serial killer went to winnipeg homeless shelters looking for the absolute most vulnerable friend 3
Candles and pictures had been positioned at a vigil on Dec. 1 for Morgan Harris. The vigil occurred outdoors a McKay Avenue residence the place Skibicki lived. (Austin Grabish/CBC)

He remembers Skibicki telling him about assembly one girl who had been in line at Siloam Mission however had been denied entry to the shelter.

“He’d have his container of soup that he brings house [from the shelter] and he’d supply lodging to take these ladies house. I by no means thought a lot of it,” stated the supply. 

“Now that I look again, it’s predatory behaviour,” he stated. “You recognize, he’s searching for absolutely the most weak.”

Whereas he noticed the ladies come and go from Skibicki’s residence, the supply stated he by no means spoke to them.

“He wouldn’t even need me his ladies,” he stated. “He was very protecting of his ladies like that.”

mugshot of bearded man
Jeremy Skibicki is dealing with 4 first-degree homicide costs. A buddy describes Skibicki’s behaviour with weak ladies as ‘predatory.’ (Jeremy Skibicki/Fb)

However the supply says he has combined emotions on the allegation that Skibicki was particularly focusing on homeless Indigenous ladies.

“I simply really feel that’s the kind of folks that will affiliate with him. Being on authorities help and dwelling with a finances of $150 a month, that’s not far off from being homeless, income-wise.”

New security measures at shelters

Cora Morgan stated the unsheltered neighborhood has been shaken by the information of the killings of the 4 ladies.

“There’s quite a lot of trauma right here. And so it’s actually tough to ask folks to return to work on daily basis, as a result of it’s not simple,” she stated, including many ladies from the homeless neighborhood have gone lacking.

Most ladies who entry N’Dinawemak have been by the kid welfare system and have been affected intergenerationally by residential faculties, stated Morgan.

Most have additionally skilled abuse and have connections with lacking or murdered Indigenous ladies and ladies, she stated.

alleged serial killer went to winnipeg homeless shelters looking for the absolute most vulnerable friend 5
The inside of N’dinawemak. Morgan stated the shelter has elevated searches round its constructing for any indicators of predatory behaviour. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Siloam Mission CEO Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud stated everybody working within the unsheltered sector is grieving proper now.

“It feels actually horrible that any person may need been utilizing areas which can be designed to assist and love folks to [instead] hurt folks,” she stated.

“It positively breaks our coronary heart.”

Society wants to forestall violence by ensuring folks have fundamental requirements, together with housing, “in order that they’re not searching for different avenues and having to make that selection between a chilly night time on the road and risking their private security,” she stated.

Siloam Mission plans to coach employees on learn how to higher acknowledge predatory behaviour. It additionally plans to extend women-only drop-in instances, so employees can higher join with ladies and convey in additional programming for them.

Morgan stated N’dinawemak has elevated searches round its constructing for any indicators of predatory behaviour, and other people utilizing the providers are being related with a “level particular person” to whom they will disclose any points.

Anybody identified to be predatory or abusive towards ladies is banned from the centre.

N’dinawemak can also be listening to from many involved households who consider their relative could also be Buffalo Lady, she stated.

A series of four photographs shows a jacket. Two photos on the top show the front and back of a black jacket, with a hood lined with grey fur. Two photos on the bottom show the jacket reversed, with black-and-white horizontal stripes.
Morgan stated N’dinawemak has heard from many involved households who consider their relative could also be Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Lady. Police have requested for assist figuring out the girl, and have beforehand stated she wore a Child Phat model reversible jacket just like the one proven right here. (Submitted by Winnipeg Police Service)

The Meeting of Manitoba Chiefs has repeatedly requested the federal authorities for funding to maintain a database of lacking Indigenous folks within the province, which might hyperlink to all homeless shelters to raised observe folks, however that funding has been denied, stated Morgan.

“We hold getting these guarantees of change, and that change actually wants to return, as a result of we are able to’t simply hold acknowledging lack of life,” she stated. 

Outdoors N’dinawemak, Ruth Roulette stated she strains up every day in hopes of getting a mattress for the night time, however she worries for her personal security.

She understands why ladies may be motivated to go along with somebody in a doubtlessly unsafe state of affairs. 

“Particularly whenever you’re chilly … [it’s] higher than being out right here,” she stated.

The person who used to take a seat beside Skibicki at meals agreed, saying he’s needed to begin over once more dozens of instances prior to now yr after having his belongings stolen.

“The desperation is so substantial. Folks will do what they should do to really feel some form of safety or some form of security,” he stated. 

“It’s that previous adage … when you don’t have anything, something will do.”

Assist is out there for anybody affected by particulars of this case. In the event you require assist, you may contact Ka Ni Kanichihk’s Medication Bear Counselling, Assist and Elder Companies at 204-594-6500, ext. 102 or 104, (inside Winnipeg) or 1-888-953-5264 (outdoors Winnipeg).

Assist can also be obtainable through Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak’s Lacking and Murdered Indigenous Ladies and Women Liaison unit at 1-800-442-0488 or 204-677-1648.