Teen who was assaulted, left for dead by river to meet men who found her

A teen who was viciously beaten, assaulted and left to die beside a Winnipeg river was planning Thursday to meet the men who rescued her.

WINNIPEG — A teen who was viciously beaten, assaulted and left to die beside a Winnipeg river was planning Thursday to meet the men who rescued her.

The two construction workers found Rinelle Harper’s battered and bruised body under a downtown bridge near the Assiniboine River in the early morning of Nov. 8. They covered the 16-year-old with their coats, called 911 and waited with her until paramedics arrived.

Grand Chief David Harper, a relative who has been helping the family, said Rinelle and her parents have been wanting to meet the men and were planning to do so at a downtown hotel Thursday afternoon.

“The family wanted to meet the gentlemen, give them thanks and present them with a couple of gifts,” said Harper, who added that Rinelle was hoping to be there if she felt strong enough.

“She hasn’t stepped out yet, so we’re going to give it a shot.”

Rinelle was discharged from hospital a week ago, but Harper said she is still recuperating.

“She gets tired easily.”

Police have said Rinelle was out with friends celebrating the completion of her midterms the night of Nov. 7. The teen from the northern reserve of Garden Hill was studying at a boarding school for aboriginal students in Winnipeg.

She got separated from her friends and struck up a conversation with two males. The three walked to the Assiniboine River where police say Rinelle was attacked and ended up in the frigid water. She managed to crawl out upstream, but was attacked again and “left for dead,” police said.

A second woman was also beaten, sexually assaulted and left unconscious a short time later.

A 17-year-old, who cannot be named, and 20-year-old Justin James Hudson are facing numerous charges in the two assaults, including attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault. Both are to appear in court next week.

A passerby noticed Rinelle early the next morning and told construction workers Sean Vincent and Ed Mehanovic. The two told CTV they didn’t think the teen would survive. She was taken to hospital in critical condition.

“At the end of the day, we were just hoping for the best, that she made it,” Vincent said.

Mehanovic, who has daughters around the same age, said he was extremely disturbed by what happened.

“That’s somebody’s daughter. That’s somebody’s sister. That’s somebody’s friend,” he said.

The vicious assault, coming so soon after the body of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine was found in the Red River, has prompted aboriginal leaders to call yet again for an end to violence against women.

Plans are afoot for Rinelle to address the meeting of the Assembly of First Nations in Winnipeg next month when the group elects a new leader and discusses plans for a roundtable on missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Just Posted

Red Deer city council aims to force larger non-profits to become more accountable

New bylaw defines which not-for-profits must pay for a business licence

Red Deer city council will seek public input on portable signage March 4

Council gave initial approval to retaining 100-metre separation distance

Smaller, more affordable, lots wanted in Red Deer’s Evergreen neighbourhood

Council approves first reading of requested lot-size changes

RDC’s new name to be unveiled in February

The next big milestone for Red Deer College is a new name,… Continue reading

Lacombe considering licensing cats

Council is expected to take a look at cat potential licensing regulations next month

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Opinion: Faith in immigration must be preserved

Canada has a deserved reputation for extending its arms to newcomers, but… Continue reading

Olympian Adam van Koeverden wins federal Liberal nomination in Ontario riding

MILTON, Ont. — Former Olympic flag-bearer Adam van Koeverden will be carrying… Continue reading

World champion Osmond says it’s “really nice” not to know what future holds

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Kaetlyn Osmond has a world title, Olympic medals… Continue reading

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

Timberlake pops in on patients at Texas children’s hospital

DALLAS — Justin Timberlake has pulled some sunshine from his pocket for… Continue reading

UK police speak to Prince Philip about not wearing seatbelt

LONDON — British police have spoken with Prince Philip after the husband… Continue reading

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Curtain rising Sunday night on total lunar eclipse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The celestial curtain will be rising soon on… Continue reading

Most Read