AMARANTH, Man. - Members of a small aboriginal community in Manitoba say they are confident that whoever was involved in the gruesome death of a woman whose body was found decapitated over the weekend, will be brought to justice.
RCMP and the Dakota Ojibway Police Service have so far only confirmed that they are investigating the death of Roberta McIvor, 32, of Sandy Bay First Nation and that they're treating the case as a homicide.
The victim's mother, Cindy Rubio, said on Sunday that police told the family her daughter's remains had been found on opposite sides of a road.
"The community is in shock. How can you fathom taking a young woman's -- a young mother's life, " Sandy Bay First Nation Chief Irvin McIvor said on Monday.
The chief, who is related to the victim, said it appears McIvor was at a party on Friday night, and it's likely there are witnesses who will be able to help investigators.
"Judging by who was at the party and who left with Roberta, I think it's just a matter of police piecing together their investigation," McIvor said.
"Somebody knows something and somebody will talk."
At the local convenience store in Sandy Bay, located on the western side of Lake Manitoba, just about everyone was talking about the murder on Monday.
"Everybody is in shock that it happened on the reserve. They can't believe that would happen," said an store employee who didn't want to give her name.
"I'm scared for my kids, too. I have teenagers."
Irvin McIvor said he's been in touch with local police and understands that they're busy conducting their investigation.
He said the victim was well-liked and was scheduled to begin a healthcare worker training program in September.
Roberta McIvor leaves behind a 14-year-old daughter.
The chief said the gruesome crime brings back memories of another beheading in the province _ that of 22-year-old Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus, on July 30, 2008.
A judge ruled McLean's seat mate, Vince Li, was suffering from hallucinations and untreated schizophrenia at the time and was not criminally responsible for the attack.
Eerily, McIvor noted that Robera McIvor's death appears to have happened on the third anniversary of the tragedy.
"It's a horrible disgrace what happened to her," he said. "It's going to be forever within our community."
_ From Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton.