Prairie Green Dump Excavation: A Very Difficult Job, But Not Impossible

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Prairie Green junkyard dig: a very difficult job, but not impossible

< p class="styled__StyledLegend-sc-v64krj-0 lgXjWn">On Friday, the City of Winnipeg said it was open to conducting a “humane” search of the Prairie Green dump. (archives)

While many voices are asking the police to search the Prairie Green dump, near Winnipeg, for the remains of two women, the opinions of two experts differ on the chances of success of such a dig.

Dumps are probably the toughest places to search, says Ross Gardner, a crime scene investigation consultant and instructor based in Georgia, USA. United.

Usually, investigators are looking for information about when the bodies may have been deposited there, he adds. However, if the operations of the dump consist of unloading and filling the place, there is no chance that you will find what you are looking for.

According to Ross Gardner, the fact that animal remains are included in the waste makes it even more difficult to find and identify human remains.

I believe it would be physically impossible, believes the forensic expert. After all this time, how would you tell a human body from animal remains?

An opinion not shared by Eric Bartelink, director of the human identification laboratory at the ;California State University at Chico and professor of anthropology at the same institution.

The City of Winnipeg and the Government of Manitoba announced Thursday a temporary shutdown of operations at the Prairie Green Landfill. (archives)

Even if the work of the investigators would be difficult, the latter believes that all hope is not lost.

According to him, the search work should begin with the help of an experienced mechanical shovel operator to carefully remove the debris from the dump. This method would make it possible to bring to light certain clues such as newspapers or dated invoices, i.e. documents helping to determine the moment of the unloadings.

Eric Bartelink recognizes that such work could take several weeks and it may not yield the expected results. However, he believes that nothing is impossible.

“If the police are able to do it, if they can put the resources into it…I think it's worth a try.”

—Eric Bartelink, Director of the Human Identification Laboratory and Professor of Anthropology at California State University at Chico

Further investigations similar ones have sometimes been successful.

In June 2021, police in Ontario searched the Green Lane dump, Toronto's main dump, for the remains of Nathaniel Brettell, who disappeared in January. His remains were finally discovered in August. The work of the police was, however, facilitated by the fact that the dump kept precise information concerning the place and time of the various unloadings.

On February 17, 2019, police found the remains of another victim who went missing on January 11 of the same year in an Ottawa dump. The search had then lasted 18 days and required the work of a hundred people.

The debate surrounding a possible investigation into the Prairie Green dump began when the police claimed to believe that the remains of Marcedes Myran and Morgan Harris, two Long Plain First Nation women suspected of being killed by Jeremy Skibicki, may be found there.

Part of the remains of Rebecca Contois, another victim of the alleged killer, were discovered in the Brady Road dump on June 14.

< p class="styled__StyledLegend-sc-v64krj-0 lgXjWn">Left to right: Morgan Beatrice Harris, Marcedes Myran and Rebecca Contois.

However, according to the police, the time of the investigation as well as significant differences in the ways of operating of the two dumps would make such a search impossible.

In the case of Rebecca Contois , law enforcement was able to determine the approximate location of the victim's remains. Within five hours, the dumping of waste had been stopped at this location.

A very different situation surrounds the possible search for Marcedes Myran and Morgan Harris.

< p class="e-p">Earlier this week, Winnipeg Police Service Inspector Cam Mackid said officers learned on June 20 that the remains of the two victims may be at the dump, more than a month after they were unloaded. likely.

Prairie Green junkyard terrain makes research very difficult. (archives)

During this period, nearly 10,000 waste dumps were carried out and around 1,500 tonnes of animal remains were dumped there, according to the police .

A search work that is all the more complicated by the fact that the truck suspected of having transported the load containing the remains was not equipped with a GPS.

With information from Cameron MacLean

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