WINNIPEG — The family of a 16-year-old Manitoba girl who was beaten and ended up in a frigid river is thankful she survived the attack and is now recovering.
Grand Chief David Harper is a distant relative of Rinelle Harper and has visited her and her family in hospital.
He says the girl is slowly recovering her memory after taking a bad beating, but she doesn’t remember much about what happened the night she was attacked.
Police say Rinelle was out with friends Friday when she was attacked near a downtown bridge and ended up in the Assiniboine River.
She managed to pull herself out of the water onto a walkway, where she was discovered by a passerby and rushed to hospital in critical condition.
Harper says Rinelle is originally from the Garden Hill First Nation in northern Manitoba, but has been attending a high school in Winnipeg for the last two years and is in Grade 11.
The grand chief says most Harpers from that part of Manitoba are related and Rinelle is the great niece of the late MP Elijah Harper.
Police took the unusual step of identifying the victim, with her parents’ permission, in the hope of cracking the case.