POLITICS

Man charged in case of former Alberta premier's missing relative in court

06/19/2012 04:44 EDT | Updated 08/19/2012 05:12 EDT
MEDICINE HAT, Alta. - A man charged in the case of a former Alberta premier's missing relative has made a brief court appearance.

Jerrison Herve Stopanski stood in the prisoner's box for less than a minute at the Medicine Hat courthouse.

He is scheduled to appear again next Tuesday.

Amy Lenora Lewis, the grand-niece of former premier Harry Strom, was last heard from June 11.

Police arrested Stopanski four days later after the 23-year-old woman's vehicle was found outside a motel.

Police have said they believe Lewis is dead and have charged Stopanksi with accessory to murder after the fact.

They haven't ruled out additional charges.

The missing woman's uncle, Raymond Strom, made a statement to the media outside the courthouse. He thanked police, emergency services and the public for their support.

"All of us deeply love Amy," he said. "Thank you so much for being here."

A candlelight vigil was planned for Tuesday night.

Police don't know what connection — if any — there is between Lewis and the 34-year-old Stopanski from Medicine Hat.

They believe an area in or around the South Saskatchewan River may provide clues.

Harry Strom was the last Social Credit premier of Alberta between 1968 and 1971.

(Medicine Hat News, CJCY)