Homicide stats in line with history: RCMP

Red Deer’s homicide tally dropped sharply to two in 2012, after six homicides in 2011 sent shock waves throughout the city.

Red Deer’s homicide tally dropped sharply to two in 2012, after six homicides in 2011 sent shock waves throughout the city.

In February 2012, the body of Talia Nellie Meguinis, 27, from Tsuu T’ina Nation near Calgary, was found dumped in the Riverside Industrial area.

Nathan Desharnais, 29, of Red Deer is accused of second-degree murder and of committing an indignity to human remains in the death of Meguinis. Desharnais will be in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench for a bail hearing on Friday.

In June, Jake Thue, 27, of Lumsden, Sask., was rushed to hospital in Edmonton with serious head injuries after a fight outside a Red Deer hotel. Thue never regained consciousness and died a few days later.

Charges were dropped against William Johnstone-Vince, after the Crown determined he had been defending himself in the fight that led to the death of Thue. Even though the charges were dropped, the death is still considered a homicide.

Red Deer RCMP Supt. Warren Dosko said the 2012 statistics are more in line with past history or a return to a typical homicide rate in Red Deer.

In the last seven years, the city has recorded 15 homicides. Before 2011, the big years in recent memory were in 2008 and 2009, when three homicides were recorded each year. In 2006, there was one homicide. No homicides were recorded in 2007 and 2010.

But 2013 has started with two suspicious deaths already.

On Jan. 1, the city had its first homicide, in Eastview. And only two weeks later, the RCMP dealt with another suspicious death, again in Eastview. The results of the autopsy in the second death have not been released.

“Every weekend we have got incidents that happen where it’s just through the grace of God that somebody doesn’t die,” said Dosko. “There’s lots of assaults with weapons, aggravated assaults where people are critically injured but don’t die.”

Dosko said often it is simply a roll of the dice. For example, a shooting victim could have died after two men stormed his house in Bower two weeks ago. Instead, he only suffered a shoulder wound.

“No matter who you are, when you hear of those type of things in your community, you should be concerned,” said Dosko. “Sometimes those targeted crimes spill over and impact (other) victims.”

With an Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) set to come on board in Red Deer this year, Dosko said there is bound to be a drop in the amount of organized crime and serious crimes in the city.