WHITEHORSE-Shock, disbelief and numb were the words used by Kwanlin Dun First Nation Chief Doris Bill in describing how her community is feeling in the wake of three murders directly linked to the First Nation.

The Whitehorse RCMP and the First Nation held a joint news conference on MacIntyre Drive Tuesday, after nearly a week of silence, since the discovery of the bodies of Wendy Carlick and Sarah MacIntosh at a home on Murphy Road April 19. The community was already reeling from the homicide of Greg Dawson April 6 at a Riverdale home.

Bill says the murders bring up painful memories of the past. “This tragedy has opened old wounds in our community. There are now four unsolved murders directly affecting our community.” Bill is referring to the unsolved murder of Allan Waugh, who was discovered at a home in the MacIntyre subdivision May 30, 2014.

Bill was visibly distraught, fighting back tears on the impact the situation was having on her community. Trying to quell safety fears, Bill stated the First Nation’s Justice Department was increasing its patrols in the neighbourhood. “We are committed to improving the safety and security of our citizens.”

The RCMP were not releasing much information including causes of death for all three individuals or how they came to many conclusions, citing the need to keep the integrity of the investigation.

Inspector Archie Thompson stated the recent three deaths are not connect to the homicide of Angel Carlick. “Of the three murders, Ms. MacIntosh, Ms. Wendy Carlick and Mr. Greg Dawson, there’s no connection to Angel Carlick in 2007.”

Thompson says mother Wendy and daughter Angel’s murders are connected. “That’s me talking to the major crimes unit, and that’s the information I’ve been provided. There’s no current connection between the deaths of Wendy and Angel Carlick”

Thompson tried reassuring those in attendance that the public’s safety is not at risk, but would not commit to saying the deaths were targeted. Thompson says its too early to determine if there is a trend or uptick in violence. “Because these incidents have happened in such a short time span, it is still too early to determine if this represents a trend or shift in the level of violence in Whitehorse.” “No arrests have been made, and all three deaths remain as active, ongoing investigations.”

Both Chief Bill and Thompson implored the public to come forward and release known information, but Bill admitted there are some in the community which have doubts as to whether RCMP can solve the murders. “I’m aware that some people do not have faith that these cases will be solved. Especially when you look at Angel Carlick’s case and how long that’s taken.” Even with that doubt she urged people to still come forward. “These recent tragic events we must do more.” “These crimes must be solved.”

Wendy Carlick carried the memory and pain of her daughter’s death for nearly a decade, always wanting to tell Angels story. She would have done so at next months Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women inquiry hearing in Whitehorse. Bill says this tragedy stresses the need for the inquiry. “I think it underscores how important the inquiry is to hear and how important it is for the inquiry to hear from families who have experienced this kind of trauma and what they go through and the lack of supports that are out there for these families.”

Bill, with eyes welling with water, choking back her emotion to complete her statement said regardless of how MacIntosh, Carlick and Dawson spend the life, they were still human beings who all deserve justice. “Regardless of how they may have lived their life, I want people to know these lives matter. They matter to our community, to the families. They were somebody’s mother…brother…sister…father. They mattered greatly to our community.”

(Dan Jones April 26, 2017)